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.

 

Delicious Edible Wellness – raw vegan!

Being a cookbook author myself writing and developing recipes is one of my most loved tasks. I am currently experimenting a lot with raw, detoxing, vegan food for our Talise Spas. Because Spa food is by nature a light, detoxing, skin beautifying treat.

What more I need to say, take a look at my delicious edible wellness!

dessert1` parline salad and soup smoothie tartar vegchips2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am very proud that a selection of the dishes will be available soon through Talise Nutrition at Jumeirah Talise Spas in Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts. I will keep you posted!

Have a blessed Ramadan everyone, be balanced, stay healthy, radiant and fit.

Healthy Eating Tips for Ramadan

To ensure good health and fitness during the time of fasting, Talise Fitness and
Talise Nutrition have teamed up with health tips around the holy month of Ramadan.
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A booklet of healthy lifestyle tips will be available in any Talise Fitness comprising my recipes, a meal plan recommendation and below generic tips to help maintain good health and optimal nutrition.

I hope you enjoy reading my tips, stay healthy and energized.

Wishing you all a peaceful and blessed Ramadan.

 

When breaking the fast in Ramadan, the quality of the food for Iftar and Suhoor is very important.


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Food provides our bodies with the fuel source to manufacture energy. We often forget the importance of a healthy food in producing energy. The key to having a diet which produces high levels of energy is to avoid refined foods. Basically the more food is refined, the more energy deficient it becomes.

Ramadan 1 newThe second element related to diet is the amount we eat. Digestion takes up over 50% of our energy reserves. So overeating is one of the largest energy drainers on the body.

 

Ramadan 1 newFinally is lifestyle. Balance is the key. The most important element to lifestyle is ensuring adequate sleep. Sleep is when our bodies repair.
Look after yourself, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and maintain a positive, happy outlook on life. Your body will produce bounds of excessive energy, heal itself and you will feel and look ten years younger.

Add variety, but avoid volumes. Maintain balance. Embrace healthier foods.

VARIETY Ideal is eating a rainbow of colors, including black as for example black berries over purple like red cabbage and purple potatoes to white e.g. white radish or dairy

POWER PROTEIN We recommend to eat high quality, low fat protein. Prefer low purine meats such as white fish and poultry over red marbled meats prepared with very little fat (grilled, steamed, baked). For vegetarians: mushrooms, soy bean products, pulses, eggs, dairy, nuts and super grains quinoa and amaranth provide high quality protein.

HIGH FIBRE & WHOLESOME
Many vegetables are fibruous, and hence help digestion and detoxification. Look for broccoli, green beans, spinach leaves, savoy cabbage, pak choy, kale.

Eat a small to medium amount of good carbs which support slow and constant energy supply into the bloodstream, digestion and detoxification in all hulled starches and whole grains such as unpeeled rice, or quinoa, nuts and seeds. Avoid or reduce the bad carbs like white sugar, white flour, peeled rice etc.).

LOW FAT and LOW SUGAR
Avoid cream sauces and soups, deep fried and breaded foods, fatty cheeses, creamy desserts, and all things made with white sugar and white flour. Have fruits for dessert instead, and pick the wholegrain bread rolls from the basket.

BALANCE A 35 % raw 65% cooked food ratio is beneficial to avoid pH imbalance or over acidity. Have Something RAW in the beginning of a meal – you can start with a salad and a light dressing, or have some crudités with light dips, a cold soup (gazpacho) or fruits (for Suhoor).

MODERATE Eating very slowly and chewing well helps to consume moderate portions and optimal nutrient absorption. Don’t “clean the plate” – stop eating when you feel you are satisfied.

 

 

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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Currently working on some raw food

I posted on this Blog already often about RAW food. This very special, delicious, highly nutritious way of eating is much more than only salads and smoothies. Today I am preparing delicious, savory, crunchy, spicy dehydrated raw Mini Grissini for an upcoming prestigious event  at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi. Need to start early, dehydrating at low temperature takes time.
I am looking forward to a trip to the capital and serving Talise Nutrition food!dehydrator 1 dehydrator 2dehydrator 3


#station2#station in the making


Healthy eating on the rise

This week I was extremely honored to be invited to a panel discussion at the Hospitality Business Summit Middle East. The topic:  ‘The perfect menu – trends in dining’.
Healthy eating has become a mainstream trend. But definitely not one of those trends that lasts only one season. It’s a lifestyle followed by many. Good to see it broadly influencing the food offerings of the business.
This is why Talise Nutrition is one of the 3 core pillars of Talise, Jumeirah Group’s Wellness brand. Healthy food is an essential source for a healthy body. Because we are what we eat. Together with Talise Fitness and Talise Spa it is the destination of good living:

Eat – Move – Relax.

Hospitality Business Summit june 2014

 

Diet, lifestyle and fitness – three secrets of good health

Food provides our bodies with the fuel source to manufacture energy. We often forget the importance of a healthy diet in producing energy. The key to having a diet which produces high levels of energy is to avoid refined foods. Basically the more food is refined, the more energy deficient it becomes. Foods like sugary sweets, lollies, chips, fried foods, fast foods and junk food are all heavily refined and lacking in nutrition.
Another important element related to food is the amount we eat. Digestion takes up over 50% of our energy reserves. So overeating is one of the largest energy drainers on the body.
The human body is the same as a plant. If you give it the correct environment and food, it will flourish and heal itself. We often complicate our health, when in reality it is very simple. Look after yourself, eat healthy food, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and maintain a positive, happy outlook on life. Your body will produce bounds of excessive energy.

With Ramadan just around the corner I am sharing one summery and light sweet treat with you that might become also your favourite once you tried it. Easy, quick, packed with nutrients and delicious.
Eat healthy, stay fit and look good!

RAW Chia Almond Pudding with Exotic Fruits

What to Buy for 2 portions
20 g Chia seeds
200 ml almond milk (I make it fresh and raw with 1/2 cup soaked almonds and 200 ml water in a blender, strained through a fine sieve)
1 teaspoon honey
80 g diced mango, papaya, dragon fruit
juice of 1 lime

How to Make It
Mix honey and almond milk. Stir in the chia seeds and transfer immediately into serving bowls. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. The chia seeds will absorb most of the almond milk and create a thick texture.
Short before serving top with the fruits and lime juice.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
Nutrient packed and raw – a dessert that supplies long lasting energy and vitamins without sitting on the hips. Mango season is coming soon here in Dubai. But the dessert tastes also very good with fresh berries or peaches.

chia

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!

 

Healthy Sweet Treat

In my consultations people often ask for healthy, guilt free, weight friendly sweets. Well, sweets are not healthy when eaten regularly. But there are some that contain less fat than others. Try my favorite little treat I recommend to those who find it difficult to resist eating something sweet once in a while:

Coconut Macaroons

What To Buy

What to Buy for 20-25 pieces
4 egg whites
1 pinch salt
½ vanilla bean seeds scraped out
150 g Acacia honey
1 drop bitter almond oil
65 g low fat quark cheese
200 g coconut desiccated
80 g honey black berry jam

How To Make It
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Pre-heat the oven at 210 degrees Celsius.
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt, almond oil and the vanilla seeds until firm.
Cook the honey in a small pot for around 3 minutes. Gradually add the hot honey into the egg whites while continue whisking. Then carefully fold under the quark and coconut, do not stir too much to retain the foamy texture. Transfer the dough with two teaspoons in dollops (size of a walnut) onto the parchment paper on the baking tray. Make a small whole in each cookie and fill it with a little bit of jam. Close the dough over the jam.  Bake for 10-15 minutes at 210 degrees Celsius.

The biscuits can be kept in a box and cool and dry place for up to 3 days.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
There is no “healthy” cakes and biscuits to be precise. However above recipe is very low fat, high protein and better carb. Keep this for exceptions when you allow yourself to satisfy sweet cravings, but don’t consume them daily or in larger quantities.

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Spring Detox

A little detox once in a while is very helpful to maintain good health, radiant beauty and to stay in shape. What better time to tackle the issue than spring?
I recently rediscovered juicing and here is my new favorite – a pale powder rose, fragrant juice I serve in small shots that gives you that extra boost of goodness in a minute!

Pink Grapefruit Fennel Juice

What To Buy for 1 large or 4 small portions

1 medium fennel bulb
1 pink grapefruit
1 lemon
2 yellow apples
1 tablespoon flax seed oil

How To Make It

Peel the citrus fruits. Juice the fruits and the fennel. Stir in the flax seed oil and enjoy immediately.

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Chef Gabi’s Tip

Flax seed oil or freshly crushed flax seeds ( I prefer the golden ones with their great nutty flavor on my salads, muesli, smoothies) contain alpha-linolenic acid, a precursor to the essential Omega 3 fatty acid and is said to help lower cholesterol and tryglicerides.