A wellbeing chef’s perspective – my top 20 favorite ingredients

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I love my ingredients – every single one for a different reason. Being recently asked what I personally would put on a top grocery list, here is what you always find in my fridge or kitchen cupboard:

 

Extra virgin olive oil – for salads and infused oil preparations. Its a pity to heat this oil however I do it – occasionally.
Raw coconut oil – for cooking, baking and for beauty (yes, I put it on my skin every day)
Fresh avocado – a super basic for salads, salsas, smoothies, spreads and raw ice cream. Exceptional healthy fat.
Green lettucevitamin rich raw ‘rabbit food’ with high chlorophyll factor, good to improve oxygen absorption and digestion
Parsley – great for detoxification and of course for taste. I sometimes juice it with apple to a delicious green super juice. It is a main ingredient in my aromatic herb oil.
Tomatoes – for everything from salads, soups and broths, base for cooking healthy complex carbs such as quinoa. A very versatile vegetable I can’t live without. See here something ideal for a summer party!
Cucumbers – for their high water content, low calories and and fresh taste. And I use the juice as skin tonic too.
Pumpkin – for color, taste, smooth texture when cooked in purees and soups and for their support in kidney function. You should try one of my most famous recipes.
Almonds skin on – for non dairy milks, for baking, in muesli and for the extra crunch in salads and their good fats. The leftover pulp when I made almond milk is good face scrub by the way.
Himalaya salt – my favorite quality when it comes to salt. It has an almost sweet and mild taste, less aggressive than many other salts and great for cleansing too.
Bird’s eye Chillies – my personal every day favorite. The little hot and spicy devils I just put often in my home cooked dishes. I keep a home made chilli oil next to the basic salt and pepper, so I can drizzle a little dash on my salads.  For those less adventurous with spicy flavors: Sometimes a hint of chili brings the little something to soups and marinades, when used sparingly.
Artichokes – a little luxury and one delicacy I buy when i come across fresh and good quality ones. Although they need a little extra attention to clean and leave a somewhat brown color on the fingers, they are so delicious and support liver detoxification. I use them cooked in salads, or just braise them with garlic, lemon zest, rosemary and tomatoes.
Naked oats – I never buy flakes, but crush the oats freshly before use in mueslis, protein pancakes, quenelles and much more. Crushed oats mixed with honey and yoghurt make a great skin treatment too.
Quinoa and Amaranth – wholesome healthy protein packed powerhouses. I cook them, sprout them, puff them, bake with the flour….very versatile and taste delicious. My signature puffed Amaranth muesli featured at the Burj Al Arab.
Black Rice – this wholesome carbohydrate is a great asset in the kitchen, it turns into a dramatic deep purple shade when cooked. Rice has an alkalizing effect.
Cottage Cheese – low in fat, high in protein I mix it into pancakes, spreads and toppings. Together with diced tomato, cucumber and parsley a super snack. You can see it here on a super healthy beach breakfast after a yoga session at Madinat Jumeirah Resort.
Acacia honey – besides agave and maple syrup great to sweeten foods when necessary. Although I have not a sweet tooth, I often add a hint of honey to anything cooked with tomato to balance flavors.
Raspberries – fresh or frozen they add antioxidative power and a lovely taste to my herb water, non alcoholic punches and desserts.
Passion fruit – high in Vitamin C and the seeds add extra crunch. I love this fruit. Just 1 added to a fruit salad or muesli lifts tastes to new heights.
Lemon – without lemons I just can’t work, similar to tomatoes. They balance flavors, prevent from browning, add Vitamin C and their fresh taste to many food preparations.

Eat healthy, be balanced and stay fit!

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Yoga Retreat breakfast 2

Another wonderful morning by the beach at Al Quasr Hotel….after a blissful workout a very healthy breakfast awaited our guests of our first Luxury Yoga Retreat at Madinat Jumeirah. Enjoy the pictures of the weekend and try my Amaranth Muesli!

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amaranth

 

Fresh cottage cheese, with tomato, cucumber and parsley waits to be dipped with wholesome arabic bread…..

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…and my dairy free and gluten free Amaranth muesli for a perfect powerful start into the day – plenty of diced fruits like banana, apple, water melon, papaya, mango, orange topped by freshly puffed amaranth seeds.

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How to hydrate in summer

In the hot Dubai summer my Aloe Vera grows bigger and bigger. At least one of us enjoys the climate…. !
Today I gave it a try to start reducing it a little bit, so it would not take all the place away:

I made a refreshing lemonade with jelly like pulp of the leaves. What to say, it turned out to be a delicious drink I will definitely have again!

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Aloe Vera Lemonade
1 portion

What To Buy
1 organic lime (juice)
1 teaspoon acacia honey or agave syrup
a small piece of an Aloe Vera leaf (about 3 cm)
250 ml still or sparkling water
Ice cubes

How To Make It
Press the lime juice and stir in the honey or agave syrup. Pour into a glass with ice cubes. Wash the Aloe leaf and peel it carefully. Dice the jelly like pulp finely and add to the lime juice. Top with water and stir well.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
Aloe juice helps to improve digestion. It is good for cleansing and detoxifying the body due to antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

Here is two versions of my drink, that is now a regular on my personal summer treats. Which one you like better?

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Luxurious Muesli – Start fresh into April!

I now can reveal the recipe for my latest favorite muesli, as shown and created for MBC1 The Green Apple Show, aired recently. View the video sequence here.
By the way, there is more healthy treats to come soon on this channel. Keep watching it.
To easy make and enjoy this perfect morning treat at home, please follow below recipe.
I am sure you will like it as much as I do!

Luxurious Layered Morning Muesli
2 portions

What To Buy
10g Buckwheat
5g Puffed Amaranth (it is easy to puff Amaranth, as shown in the video, if you want to do it yourself as I do it)
10g Oat flakesmuesli
10g Almonds with skin
50g Mango
50g Papaya
30g Pomegranate seeds
50g Strawberry
10g Passion fruit pulp with seeds
200ml low fat Yoghurt
5g Acacia honey

How To Make It
Toast the buckwheat, the oat flakes and the sunflower seeds slightly in a non stick pan without any fat. Toast the almonds the same way and crush them roughly. Mix the seeds and nuts with the puffed amaranth.

Peel the papaya and the mango. Dice strawberry, mango and papaya and keep separate.
Spoon the prepared ingredients layered into glasses, so you can display the colorful layers: Some seeds and nuts mix, top with yoghurt, one type of fruit. Repeat the same layers with a different type of fruit.

Serve topped with a drizzle of acacia honey.

mbc2Chef Gabi’s Tip
This morning treat is packed with nutrients supporting beautiful skin, shiny hair, strong nails and bones. In the same time it provides you with lots of energy for a fresh start in the day.
p.s. left is one “making of” picture with the presenter Howayda and me,  preparing the muesli. In the back you see beautiful Madinat Jumeirah Resort with its waterways, where guests are transported by boats …enjoy something truly  inspirational about it here.

Cold Weather – Hot Tea

With cold winds chilling even Dubai’s mild winter climate I made my favorite winter tea today. Something I only do back home in Bavaria, when it is “really” cold.
Maybe you also enjoy trying this recipe, regardless your location?

Apple Cranberry Tea
10 portions

What to Buy
4 red or yellow apples
1 organic lemon
5 gm ginger
15 gm cranberries
30 ml agave syrup
3 l water

How to Make It
Cut the apples in chunky pieces, leaving the skin on. Slice the ginger and lemon with their skin. Place the apples, cranberries, ginger, and lemon in a large pot, top with water and simmer on low heat for around 1 hour. Season with agave syrup to taste and strain before serving. You will see the tea being slightly thickened by the apples’ pectine.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
I often make this tea without cranberries, but with additional 1 quince, or some elderberries. Whatever is available. Also I sometimes replace the ginger with cinnamon stick.
Apples are rich in pectine and help to bind and flush out toxins. Ginger is great to strengthen immune power and aids digestion.
To learn more about cranberries please see also here.

The Magic Cabbage Soup

Even though I am far from recommending a diet restricting anything else than just one food item I admit that cabbage soup works wonders…..and is truly recommendable to be included in your healthy menu plan.
But I just wanted to use the headline. Because my cabbage soup is magic –  only look at this color! It is made of red cabbage. I love purple anyway. Purple in foods is due primarily to their anthocyanin content. The darker the blue hue, the higher the phytochemical concentration. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that are particularly heart healthy and may help support healthy blood pressure. As a color is so special for food and a little bit irritating at times. But nothing to worry. Everything in the following recipe is natural. You can make it for a great entree in a menu, or just use it as the “Magic Soup”, that helps you to manage your weight and to detox. Enjoy!

Red Cabbage Capuccino
2 Portions

What to buy
300 gm red cabbage, chopped
1 shallot, diced
¼ apple, peeled, chopped
2 cloves
5 ml agave syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, pepper
1 tablespoon apple vinegar
50 ml soy milk

How to Make It
Braise the shallot, cloves, apple and cabbage in olive oil and agave syrup. Add 300 ml water and simmer for around 20 minutes.  Blend the soup and work through a semi fine sieve. Season with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Top the soup with soy milk foam.

New Year – New You

Who has not made some New Years resolutions that are related to a fitter, healthier body?

Detox is key after the festive season just concluded and some extra pounds gained! You can easily get back to a healthy and new you with some carefully selected food that helps to flush out the toxins and in the same time is nourishing your cells with the right amount of nutrients. Especially when working out we need to have some healthy proteins, good complex carbohydrates and plenty of vitamins with our food. In the same time it should be not so heavy on calories and fat. See here one of my favorite salads, that can make a complete lunch or dinner, and is even suitable to be taken to the office in a lunch box. Try this deliciouysly nourishing salad with cleansing beetroot, liver function supporting artichokes and vegetable protein providing lentils. In the same time this dish is vegan and free of gluten. Not to mention it is easy to make and tastes great….

Beetroot Lentil Salad

What to Buy
2 large or 4 smaller portions

50 g Du Puy Lentils
500 ml Vegetable stock
2 Cloves and 1 Bay leave
1 White Onion, peeled
500 gm Beetroot, cooked
1 Artichoke bottom, cleaned
8 ml Balsamic Vinegar
5 ml Lemon Juice
10 gm Parsley and Mint, leaves picked and washed
10 ml Olive oil
80 gm Mixed Lettuce, picked and washed
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

How to Make It
Stick the bay leave with the cloves on the onion surface. Cook the lentils with onion, cloves, bay leaf and vegetable stock. This may take up to 25 minutes to get them soft. In the meantime dice the beetroot, slice the artichoke bottom and mix olive oil, lemon juice and baslamic vinegar to a dessing.
Remove the onion with the bay leaf. Toss the warm lentils with beetroot, artichokes and the vinaigrette. Season to taste and arrange with lettuce and the herbs on plates.

lentil salad

To round up your resolutions and make them work much more effective, visit beautiful Talise Spa at Madinat Jumeirah. Be guided to a new glowing you by a consultation with Dr Erzebeth Makk and Kay Vosloo. Besides that we serve at the Spa carefully selected healthy dishes that restore energies and help to create that “feel good in the inside” supporting whatever treatment you choose.

Nevertheless as a chef I am running around all day, but specific training and guided movements are much more effective to tone muscles and build shape. I have started some workout recently and can only recommend it. Besides it is fun it makes you feel much better after only a few sessions already.
Have a look at what the new Talise Fitness at Madinat Jumeirah has on offer. I am sure there is something for everyone. And their new menu at Quay Cafe is tuned up with healthy options that suit and support deliciously your work out aspirations. Enjoy!

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and successful New Year!