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.

water3
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.

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Talise Nutrition Healthy Cooking Classes

Meeting people from all walks of life and preparing food not only for them but together Bloomies kitchen poster classwith them, is one of the things I find is the most interesting, rewarding, and worthwhile experience in my work.  I profoundly love conducting cooking classes. And I not only teach people my way of healthy food preparation and all things around healthy lifestyle, I always learn from my guests too.

Here I was with an admittedly massive poster of myself at a cooking event in Dubai.

When there is not much time for cooking and you still want dishes that have the potential to impress – try these two. I admit the Strudel dough is better taught live and requires a bit of secret practice before you can show off with this recipe at a dinner reception. But after you mastered it it will be one of your favorites, trust me. It results in a clean and organized kitchen (the mess is cleared far ahead of the event), a relaxed host (because everything can be prepared and kept), and a perfectly delicious meal your guests will wonder how you did it.

Kale Cauliflower Strudelclass strudel
Whole spelt strudel dough, sunflower pesto

 What to Buy for 10 portions
300g Whole spelt flour
125ml Milk
1 Egg
50g Butter, melted
25g Sunflower seeds
40g Parmesan Cheese, grated
5g Garlic
25ml Olive oil
100g Kale
200g Cauliflower
60g Cherry tomatoes on the vineclass strudel final.png
20g Sour Cream
Salt, pepper to taste
½ bunch each Parsley and Basil
1 sprig Rosemary

How to Make It
Prepare the dough: combine egg, 25 g of the melted butter, flour and milk with a pinch of salt until smooth elastic dough is achieved. Wrap in cling film and rest at room temperature minimum 30 minutes.
In the meantime wash and clean the kale, rough-cut the cauliflower and steam both for a couple of minutes al dente. Kale takes 1 minute, cauliflower about 3-4.
Roll out the dough very thin, place on a flour dusted kitchen towel. Brush the dough with a little butter; place the vegetables on top, season with salt and pepper and place dollops of sour cream. Roll up tight to a sleek strudel, place on a greased baking tray and bake at 200 degrees in the oven for around 15 minutes. Place the cherry tomatoes with rosemary, salt, pepper and a little olive oil in an oven tray and bake as well for 10 minutes.

In the meantime prepare the pesto, using a blender: Garlic, toasted sunflower seeds, basil, parsley, the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper.

Serve slices of strudel with a side of cherry tomatoes and a bit of aromatic pesto.

Chilled Rose Hibiscus Consommé
Frozen yoghurt quenelle, pistachio chia crumble

What to Buy for 10 portionsHibiscus Consomme

550ml Apple juice or apple tea
500ml Water
60g Tapioka
5g Hibiscus flower dried
20g Pistachio
20g Chia seeds
400ml Greek yoghurt or labneh
½ Vanilla pod
1 Organic lemon
180g Agave syrup or acacia honey
15ml Rose water

Apple Tea (highly recommended to make it fresh):
1 l Water
4 Red or yellow apples
1 slice Ginger
1 slice Organic lemon
Acacia honey or agave syrup to taste

How to Make It
Prepare the apple tea: Wash and rough cut the apples, simmer on low heat with the lemon slice and ginger for around 1.5 hours. Allow to chill before straining.
For the Quenelles open the vanilla pod and scrape out the pulp. Mix the pulp with yoghurt, season with some honey and place portion sized dollops on a cling filmed tray fitting your freezer. Freeze for around 30 minutes.
Use the chilled apple tea or alternatively apple juice and water to prepare the consommé: Grind the tapioca (coffee grinder, mortar and pestle).  Bring 1050 ml of the apple tea or juice with water to a boil, stir in tapioca, add the scraped vanilla pod and allow simmering for around 30 minutes, lid on. Once tapioca is dissolved, remove from heat, add hibiscus, season with honey and lemon juice. Chill, strain and finish with a dash of rose water.

Serve the chilled rose tea with a half frozen vanilla yoghurt quenelle, and top it with crushed pistachio and chia seeds.

If you would like to see how I make my Talise Nutrition Flavors of Health from scratch: I am offering cooking workshops in the Talise Wellness Pavilion at Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. Email me for more information. It would be a pleasure meeting you and cooking together!
class imagePicture on the right shows me teaching a masterclass at the Jumeirah Emirates Academy of Hospitality and Hotel Management.

Raw Fruit Tartlets

For all those loving some sweet bites guilt free and raw – this is one of my favorite little numbers for a sweet bite. Great to snack on or for Canapés.

 

RAW FRUIT TARTLETS

imageWhat to buy

Tartlet Shortcrust
1oo g whole spelt flour
60 g hazelnuts, ground
salt
150 ml water

Cream
2 tablespoons almond or cashew butter
Juice of 1 organic orange
1 tablespoon honey
vanilla
2 tablespoons crushed ice

Mixed fruits and berries like strawberries, raspberries, grapes, figs, pomegranates…..

How to make it
Combine the ingredients for the dough. Press the dough into small non-stick tartlet forms and allow air drying for around 6 hours or using a dehydrator for about 3 hours. Carefully remove the shells from the forms. For the cream combine and puree all ingredients in a blender. Pipe the cream into the tartlet shells and garnish with fruits and berries. Serve immediately.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
Prepare tartlet shells in advance, as well the nut cream. The tartlets are easily assembled a la minute short before serving.
This recipe is from my mother’s book, Die Vegetarische Kochschule,  titled “Best Vegetarian Cookbook” at the Gourmand Cookbook Awards in Paris.