Honey Roasted Carrots with Fresh and Spicy Zhoug

These multi -coloured carrots seduced me at the market today. They were so beautiful I just had to find a way to turn them into a delicious meal.

Rainbow Carrots

Rainbow Carrots

I love middle eastern cuisine  – the spices, the flavours, the fragrances, the colours and the intensities. It’s the passion in middle eastern cooking,  it’s authentic and real honest food – that’s what I love!

This is what inspired me – I thought  Zhoug would make the perfect match to the beautiful carrots.  I decided roasting them slowly in the oven with honey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

So, in the oven at 350F for about 40 min.

Zhoug is a fresh herb, garlic and chile sauce,  slightly spiced with cardamon, cumin and cloves, which I imagined would go really well with the roasted carrots.

Zhoug is not only wonderfully tasty, but also super healthy! Packed full of nutrients, antioxidants and flavours!

One of my all time favourite middle eastern cook books is Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamini’s book, Jerusalem, – it’s a visually stunning book with lots of great recipes. My Zhoug is strongly inspired by the recipe in the book, but with some tasty changes that I like.

Sauces like Zhoug, Harrissa, Chimicurri, and Muhamarra are amazing condiments. They make eating vegetables a total joy !

Fresh Parsley

Fresh Parsley

Zhoug

One bunch of big leaved parsley

One bunch cilantro

one green chilli

juice of one small lemon

1 teaspoon maple sirup

2 clove of garlic

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

sea salt

Wash the herbs thoroughly and put them in the blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend into a pesto-like sauce.

Fresh Cilantro

Fresh Cilantro

Serve the roasted carrots warm or cold with the sauce and some pomegranate seeds

pomegranate

pomegranate

… and enjoy – an easy to make, but extremely tasty dish!

Honey Roasted Carrots

Honey Roasted Carrots

Perhaps, add a slice of good bread?

good bread

good bread

 I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

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Mushroom Quinoa Steak served with fresh Pesto on Baked Aubergine

I frequently enjoy replacing ordinary meals with vegan or vegetarian deliciousness. I actually eat more vegan food now than anything else. Why? Because it tastes amazing and is so good for my health.

The other day I had made both, so the family could choose what they wanted – to my surprise ALL, even the teenagers helped themselves to the vegan dishes! And there I was, stuck with the meat which I had to chuck……… imagine!

I thought, really? But yes!
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This is one of the dishes that win over meat in our family.

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Walnut Bread

Nothing quite like homemade bread……

People frequently ask me – “really, do you make your own bread?”

– I would never have time for that, they say, but really, it doesn’t take that long to make delicious homemade bread. Once you have gotten into the routine, it’s the easiest thing on earth! Honestly! And fun! And rewarding!

Actually, mixing up the dough takes less than 5 min. And then the secret is to leave it to raise for at least 4 hours, the longer the better – I usually mix it in the evening before going to bed. Put it in the fridge or leave it on the counter with a wet cloth, to do it’s magic overnight.

In the morning I let it rise a second time, while the oven is heating and then I pop it in to bake, which it does while I’m in the shower.

Freshly baked bread in the morning is such a treat for everyone.

Just imagine waking up to the smell of homemade bread – a day starting like that, is bound to be a good one!

Not all bread now-a-days is honest as there are so many additives that go into store-bought bread today. Unless of course you get it from a good baker!

When you make your own bread you know what goes into it. 

Bread from the good baker

Bread from the good baker

 Walnut Bread

2 cups of water

1 teaspoon dry yeast

2 teaspoons of salt

2 tablespoons of raw sugar

3 tablespoons of olive oil

4 cups of organic unbleached flour

1 cup of chopped walnuts

1/2 cup of extra flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the oil, the salt and the sugar, add the chopped walnuts and add the flour little by little while stirring.

Walnuts

Leave the dough to raise with a wet cloth overnight or at least for 4 hours.

Fold in a little extra flour and sprinkle some on a clean countertop. Place the dough on the flour and gently fold the the sides of the dough underneath – without kneading it.

IMG_4032

Allow the dough to raise on the table while you heat the oven to 450 F – place a cast iron pot with the lid in the oven for 1/2 hour to heat it.

Take the cast iron pot out and carefully place the dough in the very hot pot, put the lid back on – please don’t burn yourself! And place the pot back in the hot oven and bake for 30 min.

Take the lid of and bake for another 10 min

Take it out, and try to let it cool a little before cutting it, I know it’s difficult :-).

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Enjoy!

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Lime and Herb Infused Green Papaya Salad

A total craving for Green Papaya Salad lured me out into the cold and windy day, on the hunt for green papaya. I love my local China town – it’s always full of life, hectic, intense, full of colors, smells and hints of adventure. Then, the sun came out, and what more can you really ask for?

China Town


Fisgaard market

Red Door

Fan Tan Alley Victoria

China Town Victoria MarketMarketMarket

I found the freshest and most beautiful green papaya fruit, a deliciously sweet pineapple, fresh herbs, big juicy oranges, tangy lime fruit and dried cranberries. That’s when I knew I was fully ready to go home and create a delicious Green Papaya Salad.

Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya

Green Papaya

Papaya in Julienne

Papaya in Julienne

Filets of Orange

Filets of Orange

Juicy Orange

Juicy Orange

Mint, Cilantro and Basil

Mint, Cilantro and Basil

Green Papaya Salad

1/2 green papaya

1/4 fresh sweet pineapple

1 big orange

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 bunch fresh basil

1 bunch fresh mint

A handful of cranberries

Cut the papaya and the pineapple into julienne strips and cut the orange into fillets. Wash and finely chop the herbs, mix everything in a bowl. Add a handful of dried cranberries

Marinade

2 lime

3-4 sps of maple syrup or agave

1 -2 cloves of garlic

some freshly grated ginger

Squeeze the lime, add maple syrup, squeeze garlic and grate some fresh ginger – mix well.

Pour the marinade over the salad and enjoy!

Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya Salad

Green Juicy Juice

I have been so spoiled lately!  Last weekend I went to Montreal with my beautiful daughter – just the two of us! Wow, what a treat, spending time alone with her was so precious!

Then this weekend I went skiing with some girl friends. Both of these experiences were like big-time tonic for my soul.

 

The down side is however that while traveling it can be hard to maintain healthy habits and routines. I love joining the party and eating what everyone else is eating and I treasure visiting interesting restaurants and eat whatever takes my fancy.

But I also love to get back home and squeeze myself a rejuvenating green juice. Its the perfect way to recoup and getting back into the rhythm again .

Fresh spinach

Fresh spinach

Celery

Celery

Sweet Apples

Sweet Apples

Lemon

Lemon

Pear

Pear

Green Juicy Juice

This juice is made in minutes and served on ice.

You need:

A bunch of fresh spinach

3 sticks of celery

3 apples

1 pear

1 lemon

Put it all through the juicer (or blender, but then you need to add some water) to make a delicious, refreshing green juice.

Delicious Juice

Delicious Juice

Cool Green Smoothie with Cinnamon and Cloves

Why not add a bit of Christmas flavor to the green smoothie?

Thinking of how to add a bit of Christmas flavour to your smoothies?  Here’s a simple idea, and it tastes truly amazing – creamy, sweet, cinnamonny and delicious!

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green smoothie

Cool Green Smoothie with Cinnamon and Cloves

What you’ll need for this….

Big handful of fresh kale

2 crisp apples

1 very ripe banana

4 -6 Medjool dates

2 small teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves

2 cups of filtered water

Ice cubes

Put it all in the blender and blend into a smooth cool and healthy drink – drink and enjoy!

If you leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to come out – it is a divine mouthful!

Immune Boosting Smoothie

Autumn is here, the leaves are turning bright red and orange. The days are getting shorter and cooler. The air is fresh and crisp, with a beautiful smell of earth. I love this time of year!

It is one of my favorite times to go running, the woods are beautiful and the temperature is just right.

It is also time to carve pumpkins, light the candles, light a fire in the fireplace, roast chestnuts and curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.

But it is also the time of year where we are particular prone to catching colds and nasty flues. So, as a precaution it is the perfect time to boost the immune system and load up on some natural

vitamin C.

We all need a shot of energy!

Today I created this Immune Boosting Smoothie – made with buckets of natural vitamin C, citrus, kale, grapes, ginger, apples and love.

Immune – Boosting Smoothie

A generous handful of fresh kale

2 small apples

1 grapefruit

1/2 lemon

1  lime fruit

2 slices of fresh ginger

a big bunch of green grapes

1 kiwi

filtered water for the right consistency

crushed ice

Blend it all together – and enjoy an instant boost of natural vitamin C to keep those nasty colds and runny noses away!

Plant-wild week-day 4

Day 4 – This morning I went for an early morning run along the beach while the sun was rising, thinking, I can do another day of this! Another day eating greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains – everything that supports my body and fills me with this zippy wonderful energy!

 

Breakfast

Rawfood musli with blueberries

This has become a breakfast stable in our family – we eat it almost every day. It is so tasty and creamy. I came up with this recipe because I wanted to make a healthy version of an old favorite that had both full fat yoghurt and cream in it!! This tastes just as good and just as creamy and sweet as the original, but without the guilt!

In the blender/food processor add:

1 cup of raw oats,
2 good handfuls of raw almonds
1 big apple cut into chunks
6-8 Medjool dates ( more or less depending on how sweet your tooth is)
1 cup of filtered water
Blend it all – not too much because it is nice if it keeps it’s crunchiness

Enjoy with either fresh berries, banana or dried fruit in the winter – today I served it with fresh blueberries from the garden.

The Good-Morning Smoothie is made from fresh raspberries and pineapple today.

Variations.
You can add a little less water and add an orange – orange and dates are a perfect match. You can also add a bit of cinnamon or cardamom

Morning snack

A delicious green smoothie made from fresh kale out of the garden, peaches, pineapple, lemon, ice and 2 cups of water

Lunch

Delicious vegetable wraps with garlic/ginger dipping sauce

Rice paper

1 avocado

1 red pepper

fresh spinach

2 carrots

1 zucchini

1/2 cucumber

3 spring onions

Fresh basil

fresh coriander

fresh basil

fresh mint

Rinse and cut everything into strips of julienne.

Prepare the rice paper – one at a time. Take a clean tea towel and make it wet, place one rice paper on the wet tea towel and fold so it is completely covered with the wet cloth. Leave for about a min. Over the sink, wring out the water and carefully place the soft rice paper so you can fill it and roll it. Fill it with spinach leaves, a little avocado, carrot, red pepper, zucchini, spring onions and alfalfa sprouts, add some fresh basil leaves, some coriander leaves and some fresh mint. Roll them together and cut them in halves and arrange them on a plate along with the garlic/ginger dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce

juice of 1/2 lime

4 small lime leaves

thin slice of fresh ginger

1 clove of garlic

2 spoons of hoisin

1//3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup water

4 spoons of braggs

Blend it all together and serve with the vegetable rolls

Dinner

Baked zucchini and eggplants- served with new potatoes and green salad with fennel

I found these gorgeous looking green and yellow zucchini and some beautiful eggplants. I decided to make a really tasty dish that i think is perfect for summer with ripe tomatoes, fresh herbs and all you need to make this dish amazing. So this is my take on the Turkish specialty, Imam Bayildi – baked zucchini and eggplant topped with a spicy fresh tomato sauce, served with little new potatoes gently baked with herbs and garlic and a green salad with fennel.

2 eggplants

2 zucchini

600 g fresh ripe and chopped fresh tomatoes

4 cloves of garlic

4 shallots

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

2 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme

3 table spoons of chopped big leaved parsley

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

1/2 cup of water

Finely chop the shallots and the garlic, gently saute them in oil til they are soft, add tomato paste,the herbs and the cumin. Add the tomatoes and the water. Cook for about 15 min. Season with sea salt and pepper, set aside. Add the parsley.

Cut the zucchini and the eggplant in halves on the length wise. Gently brown them in a bit of olive oil – on the inside. Place them in a baking dish on some baking paper and add the sauce on top.

Bake in an 350F oven for about 45 min

You can eat them right out of the oven but they taste amazing at room temperature too.

Potatoes

It is season for new and delicious potatoes – I love new potatoes!!

I prepared them like this

I washed them and cut them in to quarters and put them onto a piece of baking paper, drizzled with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, added some fresh thyme and some fresh rosemary – packed them in to little parcels and baked them in the 350F oven for about 45 min. They tasted so good!!

I served everything with a green salad with some fresh fennel

The dressing is a classic that has been in my family forever – we use it, let me just say, a lot
The trick is to use the best ingredients – the better the ingredients the better the dressing. So in other words don’t use the cheapest hot dog mustard.

2 spoons of good balsamic vinegar
a teaspoon of good Dijon Mustard
a pinch of sea salt
one clove of freshly squeezed garlic

Mix this – then add a little olive oil while you constantly stir, add more olive oil while stirring – continue doing this till you have a thick, dark yummy dressing. You can add a little maple syrup for a sweetness if you like. This salad dressing is so good and so easy to make.

Summer Infused Pizza

Frequent visitors to this site may notice a few changes. The “Happy Health” diet and exercise has become a part of the larger “Balanced Living” that I feel better describes my journey.

I realized that an important part of me had been missing: – the gourmet chef, my old recipes, my old signature dishes. The scrumptious food that is still part of what I eat.

Before getting into Happy Health diet & exercise – my life-balance was out of whack. I was eating rich food all the time and my body was suffering because of it. But with the new diet& exercise, my life-balance changed and it made a world of difference! I lost weight and gained energy. I now feel vibrant and full of life, my hereditary (bad) cholesterol is now normal and I’m off medication! I started to exercise more and I enjoyed it! My satisfaction with life grew as I could feel that things were “in-balance” again. These were just some of the amazing changes I have experienced, re-charging and re-balancing my life.  (See my updated “About” and the new “Balanced Living” page here).

Before Happy Health I had a 80/20 “balanced” diet – 80% rich gourmet food, meat, cheese, butter, cream etc and 20% vegetable, fruit, grains and nuts – Today I’m 20/80 – I eat 80% plant food and 20% of “anything”.  But, I still assure that the “anything” comes from the best sources – organic & honest!

I have been wonderfully inspired by New York Times food-writer Mark Bittman who created VB6 – Vegan before 6. Eating only plant- based foods until dinner, he then goes to work – and eats at great restaurants serving the wonderful food he writes about. And now, no longer does this rich food make him ill – because he is not eating it all the time! His balance was wrong. But VB6, vegan before 6, changed his balance and he is fit as a fiddle today. You can read more about Bittman  here

In our family, we have been inspired by VB6 and have even made our own version – VUF – Vegan until Friday.

Summer Infused Pizza

We love pizza – Pizza can be divine if it is made with real ingredients and kept simple.

This recipe is made from scratch with love and sunshine. Made with sunriped tomatoes, garlic and lots of fresh basil and oregano.

The pizza dough:

1 teaspoon of dry yeast – if you have fresh 25 g

2 1/2 cups of water

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1 tablespoon of olive oil

5 cups of organic unbleached flour

You will need approx. 2/3 extra flour when you work with it later.

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the olive oil and the salt. Add flour a little at the time while you stir. Add all the flower while you keep mixing til you have a dough that has “accepted” all the flour, meaning no flour on the side in the bowl. Leave the dough out on the counter to rest, with a clean wet cloth. The longer the better – you can mix this in the morning or the night before and put it in the fridge.

Freshly made tomato sauce on pizza is the best – it is such a treat and you will never want to eat store-bought pizza sauce again, if you can help it.  Another important thing is – the nutritional value in freshly made sauce is priceless. Click to see, tomatoes are a true SUPER POWER FOOD – packed full of goodness and taste!

Tomato Sauce:

1200 g fresh ripe tomatoes (the more reder the better)

2 shalot onions

2 cloves of garlic

one big bunch of fresh basil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 spoons of olive oil

dash of white wine

2 bay leaves

Wash and chop the tomatoes, chop the shalots and the garlic. In a frying pan add the olive oil, saute the shalots, bay leaves and the garlic, add the white wine let it reduce a little, add the chopped tomatoes – let it cook over slow heat till the tomatoes are cooked through. Add the chopped fresh basil and let it cook for another couple of min.

Add the mixture into the blender and blend it into a smooth sauce. Taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper – the sauce is ready to go on the pizza.

I make a garlic/herb/chili olive oil marinade to drizzle on the pizza – and by adding some fresh arugula or any other lettuce on top of the pizza, you will get a divine mouthful!

The garlic/ herb/chili marinade is made from – olive oil, finely chopped fresh oregano, slices of red chili,fresh garlic some sea salt – I make a good portion, often I make it ahead to allow it to infuse the oil, to make it more intense. You only drizzle a little on top – so any leftovers are perfect for preparing vegetables, frying fish or chicken – or as a drizzle on your favorite anything.

Fresh herbs are so full of goodness!

Now to the actual pizza making.

Add some flour onto the counter and pour out the dough – add some more flour on top of the dough and start to work with the dough, needing it and stretching it. It will be ready when it stops being sticky, add flour until it feels elastic and is easy to work with. I use a rolling-pin to roll it real thin – add it to a hot baking stone or to a baking tray with baking paper.

Now add the homemade tomato sauce and sprinkle with grated Grana Padano, fresh mozzarella cheese and some good olives. Bake in a hot 420 F oven until baked and the crust is right. Keep an eye on it!

You can prepare smaller pizzas directly on the barbecue – with or without cheese – this is really an amazing way to make pizza too!

Once the pizza is ready – cut them, drizzle a little marinade on top, add the arugula and serve with a great bowl of salad.

Enjoy!

p.S. I just found Pinterest, I know I have been living under a rock, but I will be signing up, it looks like fun! I realized that my photos were there! I am so happy, grateful and thrilled to see that some of you have pinned my photos – THANK YOU!! I was not even aware – gratitude, I really appreciate that!!

Rawlicious tacos with freshly made tomato salsa and guacamole

This is such a great dish. Full of all the best, vibrant with life, enzymes, vitamins and minerals – a recipe that boosts you from the very first bite and leaves you satisfied and full of energy for hours to come. Perfect both for lunch and dinner.

Guacamole

3 ripe avocados

freshly squeezed lemon juice

freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cloves of garlic

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Mash up the avocados and add lemon and lime juice,  minced garlic and taste with salt and pepper

The Taco “meat”

2 cups of walnuts

2 teaspoons of Braggs

1 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds

1/4 red pepper

1 garlic

Add it all into the blender and pulse till everything is well blended – how easy can it get 🙂

Pico del gallo/ tomato salsa

I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner ever day for ever!

5 ripe tomatoes

1 red chili

1 small red onion

bunch of fresh cilantro

freshly squeezed lime juice

sea salt and pepper

Cut tomatoes into small bits, finely chop red onion, fine chop red chili and fresh cilantro – add it all into a bowl, taste with sea salt,  freshly ground pepper and fresh lime juice.

Ready to serve the Tocos – use Romaine baby lettuce as tacos shells, add the “meat” add guacamole and top with  the salsa pico del gallo