A vegetarian take on Bavarian cuisine

We have been pioneering healthy lifestyle and cooking ever since I can remember. However – being brought up in a place where staple food is clearly much on the meat side and the cuisine rich and heavy this is not so obvious.
I am from Bavaria. Vegetarians and health food enthusiasts were a minority when I was a teenager. Nevertheless my mother had a well run Bio Hotel with exzellent vegetarian food since the 1980’s there, amidst the alpine area of Berchtesgaden and despite a beer brewer, meat eater husband. Well. That must be why she created lovely recipes of Bavarian food with a healthy and vegetarian twist. Let me share one favorite of mine with you, which I learnt is nowadays a new hype in New York City too. I claim we have invented it though! ;) I can proof it: When I opened my vegetarian restaurant in Dubai, in Madinat Jumeirah, I had exactly this dish on the menu in 2008, much loved by our guests.
Trust me it is a worth trying dish. So delicious. Serve it with a side of potato salad. Recipe here. If you are missing the “weeds” used in this recipe, go for the classic lambs lettuce. You will love it too! The recipe can be prepared, and tastes also very good when cold. Ideal for Iftar preparations, as we have still the holy month of Ramadan.
Stay healthy during Ramadan and the hot summer. xx Chef Gabi (currently herself in Bavaria hence the Bavarian flavored Blog post).

Celery Schnitzel
2 portionsimage
What to Buy

1 small Celery root, sliced in 0.5 cm thick, and steamed al dente
20 g whole spelt bread crumbs
20 g whole spelt flour
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 egg
20 ml cream
salt, pepper to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil for frying

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How to Make It
Season the steamed celery slices with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Then dip each slice in this order in:
Cream
Flour
Egg
Breadcrumbs.

Preheat a non stick pan. Bake the Schnitzel in coconut oil on both sides until golden and crispy.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
Place the celery Schnitzel after baking on kitchen tissues to absorb extra coconut oil.
I serve them with a lemon slice and potato salad. But they also make a great center of a sandwich with pickles for example.

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Eating Healthy in Ramadan

Summer in Dubai. Hot climate.  2015 the high temperatures started early and this year Ramadan falls amidst the hottest period of summer. Muslims observe strict fasting on food and beverage from sunrise until sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.  When breaking the fast and during the night the intake of food and beverage can make a huge impact on health and wellbeing. Even though I am always advising in my cooking classes and consultations on the advantages of regular healthy food and liquid intake, I believe in this very specific fasting period healthy food can be enormous beneficial.

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BROCCOLI SOUP

What to Buy for 2 portions

60 g broccoli
300 ml vegetable stock or water
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
1 slice fresh garlic (less than a clove to not over power )
1 tsp pumpkin seeds oil
1/4 bunch chives or spring onions green, finely cut

optional: 4 cherry tomatoes, 20 g smoked tofu, cut in cubes and skewered on a bamboo stick

How to Make It
Steam the broccoli for 3-5 minutes. Blend with water or vegetable stock and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and serve with a drizzle of aromatic pumpkin seeds oil and freshly cut chives. Divine!If you would like to do a little bit extra garnish, pan fry the skewer with cherry tomatoes and smoked tofu in a little bit of olive oil and serve with the soup.  This is optional, a bit more work but worth trying, especially if you have guests.
Chef Gabi’s Tip
This smooth-textured low calorie soup has a delicious fresh taste, a chlorophyll and vitamin packed appetizer, lunch or dinner.

If you wish to know what else to do with broccoli, per se a very healthy vegetable, read my blog post a bout Chlorophyll and  try my raw and vegan Broccoli Pesto here. Lovely to dip crudites in it, or wholesome bread, flax crackers or with zucchini pasta.
More soups I can recommend if you are fasting or not are the earlier published
Cauliflower Soup with Beluga Lentils
Carrot Soup with Oat Quenelles
Potato Vegetable Soup with Marjoram (Bavarian taste alert!)
and keep this one for winter: Red Cabbage Soup

Stay healthy this Summer & during Ramadan. xx Chef Gabi

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Chef Gabi’s Wellness Tips – Chlorophyll

When I was a child my mother always was very strict with me eating some greens, ideally before anything else. (why eating something raw and ideally green before anything else is great read this).
I still remember our green juice cure, inspired by Kneipp. It was made from fresh pressed foraged stinging nettle.  And nothing else, which made the drink tasting like – erm – medicine. Well food is medicine, isn’t it? But does it have to taste like medicine? No, not necessarily. In our early years of experimenting with healthy eating, and if I say healthy eating I really mean the restrictive version of it, without exception and excuses, we didn’t care much.  At least my mother didn’t. I was a bit revolutionary about it though. (My mother can tell stories about me exchanging my healthy school breakfast she gave me with my schoolmates’ ones!).
The juice time wasn’t my favorite time of the day. Until the juice got enhanced by fresh pressed apple. Now I love it, this foamy green shot of chlorophyll and liver detox, a skin beautifier par excellence.
For those who are far away from fresh foraged nettles: Try green lemonade or the green mint drink for similar effect. Or maybe a homemade pesto? I reveal my latest green pesto recipe below – vegan and made with broccoli and kale.
We have started green juicing in Dubai in  Madinat Jumeirah (where most of my blog posts relate to as you may discover), Jumeirah Beach Hotel, in Jumeirah Emirates Towers and in the Maldives Jumeirah Vittaveli where I recently attended the launch of their ‘Wellness Month’. (below some photos from my recent Maldives work visit)
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So now my wellness tip of today: Eat (or drink) your greens. Daily. Why?

CHLLOROPHYLL

Green food nutrients support healthy blood and circulation. Iron, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B12, pyridoxine and protein are all vital for the formation and maintenance of adequate levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells. In addition, chlorophyll, vitamin K, and calcium are all involved in blood clot formation and breakdown.
Chlorophyll helps to gently cleanse the body, balance pH levels, promote good digestion and fight free radicals. Active enzymes help digestion, promote energy production and support metabolism. Antioxidants support the immune system, healthy aging and cardiovascular function.

Stay healthy and have some green food every day. xx Gabi

Broccoli and Kale Pesto – vegan
What to Buy for 2 portions

50 g Kale
50 g Broccoli
20 g Sunflower seeds or Cashew nuts
20 g Parsley
10 g fresh Zaathar or Basil
3 g Garlic
100 ml Olive oil
zest of ½ Organic lemon
Salt & crushed black pepper to taste

Optional: 1 small green chili, seeds removed (for those who like a spicy pesto)

How to Make It
Wash, pick and pat dry the leaves. Toast the sunflower seeds and cashew nuts to enhance flavor. Rough cut the broccoli and the kale leaves. Crush the garlic.
Prepare the pesto, using a blender: Garlic, lemon zest, toasted sunflower seeds and cashew nuts, basil or zaatar, parsley, broccoli, kale leaves and the olive oil, salt and pepper.  If you decided to add that spicy touch, also throw in the green chili.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
This pesto is delicious as a dip with baked sweet potatoes, for crudités, for zucchini “noodles” or regular pasta, with a risotto, or on top of a bruschetta. Enjoy your greens!

Chef Gabi’s Wellness Tips – Jumeirah Vittaveli Maldives

On vacation, far away form the everyday business and all the distractions, shortcomings of all sorts and stressful lifestyle relaxation and ‘selfness’ are much easier to achieve and a great opportunity to start a number of so called ‘good habits’. These good habits may make it into a routine once you are back to normal life and  work too.
Being recently to Jumeirah Vittaveli in the Maldives where they celebrate in April their ‘Wellness Month’ with a number of special offerings I have to say this is one perfect place to get into the wellness vibe. Such a beautiful place. I couldn’t help shooting my signature apron in front of that view:

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Read a related article in the MALDIVES HOTELIER here.

Now on to the Wellness Tips:
Some small but essential secrets of wellness are so simple we often forget about their importance: WATER. If we drink every hour one glass of water we maintain hydration, help flush out toxins, support brain function, and much more. I have posted earlier about water and hydration here.

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In Jumeirah Vittaveli I loved the presence of these drinking water bottles everywhere: In the bathroom, living room, next to the bed, in the minibar to make tea or coffee.

Being inspired by their beautiful organic herb garden, where super green spinach leaves and fragrant holy basil grew in abundance even though the garden was quite new ( I was the first to harvest here – very honored! I heart the Vittaveli landscaping team)  I created a green lemonade, which was served at sunset. Well it can be taken any time of the day, and it tastes really good.

Basil Cucumber Lemonade
What to Buy for 4 large portions

1 small cucumber FullSizeRender
2 teaspoons honey
juice of 1 lemon
4 basil sprigs
2 handful spinach leaves
950 ml still water

 How to Make It

Dice ¼ of the cucumber and the chili. Blend the remaining cucumber with lemon juice, water, honey and basil. Serve with basil sprig on ice.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
This chlorophyll rich elixir hydrates, kick starts metabolism and supports relaxation.

If you manage to hydrate yourself by either drinking plain water, aromatic herb water, aforementioned green lemonade, or my hibiscus ice tea you can already tick off one wellness task.

If you have the chance to soak in natural sea water (or salt water in a bathtub) for at least 30 minutes per day you help detoxification through the largest organ, your skin, with the osmotic pressure through water and the cleansing effect of salt. Well, I risk you envy me now if I show you how enticing that looks in the Maldives. IMG_1013
But rest assured, it works the same way anywhere,  in Dubai (where I am back to now), Abu Dhabi, Mallorca, Turkey or at home in your bathtub.
Stay healthy and hydrated. xx Gabi

Spring – best time for a cleanse from the inside out

Although it is always good to do regular detoxes, spring is the most popular time to refresh, re-energize and cleanse the body from stored toxins. Getting rid of lazy fat deposits gained over winter, reverse the lack of exercise, increase dramatically oxygen and sunlight intake and dedicate your menu planning to all clean eats has an immediate positive impact on our overall well-being and look.

A program can be tailored and done anywhere and anytime, while at work or on vacation. Whilst during a busy schedule at work it might  be a bit harder to pursue, vacation is a perfect time to reverse some (bad) habits, maybe say good-bye to them for good and introduce healthier lifestyle choices with ease.

Talise Nutrition just got back from a work visit to the Maldives, where our beautiful Resort on Bolifushi Island introduced the Jumeirah Vittaveli’s Talise Wellness Month.

Highly recommended for a Wellness escape Talise style.

Discover your inner balance. XX Chef Gabi

Let me share with you some of my favorite detox recipes, a delicious and healthy, shown at my cooking classes at Jumeirah Vittaveli. Stay tuned, more posts about my trip to the Maldives to come!
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Beetroot TARTAR
What to Buy for 2 portions

300 g beetroot, cooked

1 tsp mustard
1 tsp capers
Salt, pepper
¼ bunch chives
50 g cauliflower
30 ml yoghurt

How to Make It

Peel and grate the soft cooked beetroot. Season it with salt, pepper, mustard and chopped capers. Finely cut the chives. For the cauliflower “Remoulade” grate the cauliflower, steam it until al dente and mix it with the yoghurt. Add salt, pepper and a little mustard to taste. Arrange on plate using a ring. Garnish with cauliflower “Remoulade”, finish with chives.

Chef Gabi’s Tip

Beetroots are an excellent food for overall health. Mostly known as a blood builder and blood purifier that help create red blood cells, beetroots help also improve the structure of the blood. Besides this it is great support  to the digestive system, large intestine, and circulatory system.

Cauliflower, a member of the cabbage family, is known as a vegetable supportive to weight management. It acts anti-inflammatory due to its content of Vitamin K and is a great source of dietary fiber and antioxidants.  Antioxidants are essential in destroying free radicals that accelerate the signs of aging. It provides also important B Vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and thiamine.

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Healthy Food on the go

What to do when you have busy schedule and want to maintain a healthy eating pattern on the run? I have written a book about food suitable for all busy bees out there, however it is in German language only, so here is a simple, wholesome and delicious dish out of it for all English speakers. It can be easily packed and taken along. Enjoy!

Buckwheat Taboulehimage

2 Portions

What to buy

50 g buckwheat
150 g tenderstem broccoli and 150 g cauliflower
150 g mango
Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil1 small chili
½ vanilla pod
1 lime (juice)
cress for garnish

How to Make It

Toast the buckwheat slightly in the oven.
Wash the broccoli and cauliflower and shred them. Peel the mango and dice it. Deseed the chili and chop it. Mix all ingredients and season with lime juice, olive oil, salt and vanilla. Serve topped with cress.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
Buckwheat is a gluten free grain providing high dietary fiber, eight essential amino acids, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc and copper. The grains are a rich supply of flavonoids, particularly Rutin.

Quality of Life

#youngonesMy Fridays start colorful, aromatic, delicious and communicative. Coming to the farmers market at Jumeirah Emirates Towers beautiful garden here in Dubai is definitely enhancing my and many other’s quality of life. It is a true gem of a market, relaxed,intimate, beautiful, and filled with some of the best produce the region has to offer. I often come here for my personal grocery shopping and get the freshest organic locally grown vegetables, Yemeni honey, artisan bread, organic eggs, olive oil and amazing tahini. Not to forget the lovely chats along the shopping with the farmer’s and producers, fellow chefs and food bloggers, friends and colleagues.
Occasionally I also come here to inspire….Eat more vegetables! I show how I prepare  my healthy vegetarian dishes. Vegetable cooking benefits like any other cooking from that little bit of extra love and passion, seasoning, and creative combinations.
We all agree that “eating the colours of a rainbow” helps enormously in not missing out essential nutrients. However whilst many of us know exactly what to do with the bright ones yellow, orange, red and green, there is often a lack of imagination what to do creatively with the whites and (almost) blacks. That’s why this Friday fennel bulbs and eggplants took center stage on my demo. The dishes are not necessarily related, even though they have been presented together for the tasters.
Seeing people lining up to purchase fennel and more fennel after the show was awesome.
The benefits of fennel are manifold. There is a whole pharmacy in a fennel bulb. And eggplants are definitely the vegetable of choice for those watching their caloric intake. Especially when steamed, which hardly anyone does. Something to try!

Here are the recipes of yesterday’s Talisenutrition show cooking. Enjoy and have a lovely weekend!

Aromatic Fennel Puree
What to Buy for 2 portions
1 medium fennel bulb
1 clove garlic
1 small white onion
1 clove garlic
1 star anise
20 g Tahini (sesame paste)
5 cherry tomatoes
1 organic lemon (zest)
salt and pepper to taste
10 ml olive oil

How to Make It
Clean the fennel. keep the greens if they are fresh. Steam the fennel until soft. Meanwhile braise the garlic, onion and freshly ground star anise in olive oil. Blend the fennel with the aromatic oil-garlic-star anise mixture, the Tahini, lemon zest and add a splash of water if needed to get the blade of the blender running. Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with fennel greens and cherry tomato halves.

Chef Gabi’s Tip:
This aromatic, velvety puree is very versatile. I use it as a bread dip, for crudites, spread it on grilled Portobello mushrooms, eggplant halves or serve it with a main course.

Eggplants with Pomegranate and Rosewater #workingmagic
What to Buy for 2 portions
2 small eggplants
3 gloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Juice of 1 lemon
5 ml olive oil
4 sprigs thyme or zaathar, leaves picked
30 ml rose water
1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
10 g flaked almonds with the skin
Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
salt and pepper to taste
for those who like it a little bit spicy: 1 small chili, seeds removed, chopped

How to Make It:
Pound garlic, cinnamon, chili, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper in amortar and pestle to a coarse paste. Transfer into a bowl. Add oil, rosewater, pomegranates, honey or maple syrup. Mix well.
Toast the almonds until they are golden.
Cut the eggplants in quarters and steam for around 3-5  minutes. Arrange steamed eggplants on plates and spoon the pomegranate dressing over. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Chef Gabi’s Tip:
I clearly love the middle eastern approach to cooking. Since living and cooking in Dubai for 8 years now I have definitely embraced being generous with aromatic seasonings. This combination brings out the best in eggplants. I can eat this every day.
You can add short braised kale or spinach to the dish as shown in the picture. Or cooked quinoa, black rice (my current favorite), or brown rice to make it a more filling main course.

#dish