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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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

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.

Mango Sorbet – raw and delicious

What should we demand more of desserts than being without added sugar, raw, and full of vitamins? Mango season is on here in Dubai and hence also my ice cream maker busy for this quick and easy treat:

Mango Sorbet 
4 portions

What to Buy
1 ripe mango
1 pinch vanilla
juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
25 ml coconut milk
optional: agave, stevia or acacia honey

How to Make It
Peel the mango and cut the flesh off the stone (or is it called seed?).
Blend mango, the juices, coconut milk and vanilla to a  smooth and silky cream and transfer in an ice cream maker to freeze.
Depending on volumes your sorbet should be ready within 10 -20 minutes.

Chef Gabi’s Tip:
Mangoes are high in Vitamin A, C and pectin, support digestion and alkalize. Fresh and ripe mangoes don’t even need to be sweetened, and their flesh pureed is smooth as silk. That’s why this sorbet always turns out picture perfect!
I have garnished my sorbet on this picture with freshly pureed raspberries (added a little lemon juice and a dash of agave or honey here), pistachios and fresh coconut. There is nothing better in my Dubai summer, seriously.

Discover the Flavors of Health. Wishing you all blessed Eid Holidays.mangosorbet

Raw Spicy Crackers

As a chef and passionate cook I am by nature a fan of all fancy kitchen gadgets. Needless to say I risk running out of space in my test kitchen…But I had a  v e r y  good excuse to buy myself a dehydrator recently (I kept my eyes on several models for quite a while) – needed it to develop more raw food recipes! Now I am excited to try some really delicious treats. With the side effect my friends get to try a lot at our FIFA world cup gatherings (yes I am watching football!).

Raw Spicy Flax Crackers

What to Buy
50 g golden flax seeds
10 g black chia seeds
20 g black sesame seeds
1/2 bunch fresh zaatar or thyme
50 g almonds with skin
1 garlic clove
1 red bell pepper
1 fennel bulb
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 small red chili (optional, leave it out if you don’t like it hot spicy)
5 ml olive oil
Salt to taste
150 ml water
dehydrator 1dehydrator 2dough spreaddehydrator 3dehydratorcrackers ready

How to Make It
Juice the fennel, the garlic and the red bell pepper. Grind the almonds in a food processor until they are fine. Chop the zaatar, garlic and the chili. Mix all ingredients and add as much water as needed until a semi soft and smooth dough is achieved. Season with salt. Spread the dough out thinly on parchment paper and place in the dehydrator at 45 degrees Celsius for 10 hours. Note: The thinner the dough, the better turn out the crackers.

Chef Gabi’s Tip:
Keep the crackers in an airtight container until use.
Once entirely dehydrated you can brake the crackers into desired size pieces (I love them unevenly broken, they look like we do this with baked Lavosh) and serve them either in bread basket or as pictured below topped with guacamole, cherry tomatoes and basil leaves as a healthy and delicious snack.
crackers avocado

I had made a similar recipe into mini grissinis, for an event in Abu Dhabi Jumeirah at Etihad Towers recently, together with a chilled Carrot Vichysoisse. So good!
vichysoisse 2 bettersetting up AD

Stay balanced, healthy and fit this Ramadan.

 

Hot Weather – Light Food

It’s time to get summer ready and have some light sunshine recipes on hand for optimal hydration and cooling effect.
Living and working in sunny Dubai I may have the perfect advise for you:
Keep your food fresh (means a certain percentage also raw), light (means not heavy on fat or carbohydrates), easy to digest, and as natural as possible. And hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Read more about drinking here and here.

There are food combinations that are close to ideal, because they satisfy the taste buds and our body nutritional requirements in the same time. Such as, for a hot summer day, below salad I often make and truly love:

Watermelon Feta Cheese Salad with Sprouted Nuts

What to buy for 2 portions
1 medium wedge water melon (about 300 g)
mint sprigs, leaves picked,washed, pat dried
120 g feta cheesemelonensalat nah
5 g sunflower seeds
5 g pumpkin seeds
1 lemon (juice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It
Soak the nuts in water for minimum 2 hours or maximum over night. Strain and rinse them well before use.
Peel and deseed the watermelon. Cut it into 1-2 cm cubes. Crumble the feta cheese. Mix all ingredients carefully and season with salt and pepper.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
This combination is so good, nutritious and hydrating. It can be ready in 5 minutes, and is absolutely great to take along packed in a cooling bag in case you plan a beach day. Try it and enjoy – the weekend is not far away!