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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Raw Food is Pure Goodness!

Add some RAW FOOD to you life and stay healthy and energetic. You can also read about its significant benefits here…. Needless to say living in sunny and warm Dubai eating Raw is just a great thing to do in this climate!

Detox Rolls

Below delicious and pure Detox Rolls, made from grated organic roots vegetables, wheat grass vinaigrette and paper thin cucumber slices have been served at the Madinat Jumeirah Luxury Yoga Retreat last weekend!

Vegan is the new lifestyle

A few years ago vegan guests were an exception in restaurants, special requests once in a while. And now: More and more people prefer vegan food, and they dine out and demand it - a quite interesting change in the culinary landscape. Vegan seems to be the new cool lifestyle everywhere. See what I found recently in a German Magazine:

VEGAN

I love vegan food.  Despite I am not considering myself as a strict vegan person, because I am eating dairy once in a while I have to admit I feel much better without. Vegan often has a lighter and fresher approach to cooking and eating. For example the following recipe “Zucchini Spaghetti & Bean Sprout Roulade” is one of my favourites for summer, when there are great zucchinis, tomatoes and bell peppers. My recipe has been featured recently in Good Health Arabia Magazine, and here is the English version for all who don’t understand Arabic.
The Orange Salt mentioned in below recipe is a staple ingredient in my kitchen. I love to finish dishes with it on the plate. Look here for a detailed description how to make it.
Enjoy and stay healthy this summer!

Zucchini Spaghetti and Bean Sprout Roulade
2 portions

What to buy
Zucchini
Bean sprouts
Fenugreek leaves
Flat leave Parsley
Silken Tofu
Lemon juice
Dijon mustard
Olive oil

Orange Salt:
Orange zest
Salt

500g
80g
5g
10g
120g
5ml
3g
20ml3g
10g
Tomatoes
Shallots
Garlic
Agave syrup
Red pepper
Carrot
Balsamic vinegar
Salt Pepper
200g
50g
5g
5ml
50g
50g
3ml
To taste
How to   prepare it
Grate some skin off the orange and mix with 2 teaspoons of   salt. Keep this orange salt aside for garnish. Dice the tomato, ½ of the   carrot, ½ of the shallots and simmer in little olive oil with agave syrup and   balsamic to a relish. Crush the garlic. Deseed the red pepper, cut roughly   and roast in the oven at 200 degrees together with garlic, remaining carrots   and shallots, drizzled with olive oil until very soft. Blend with the oil to   a paste and press through a fine sieve. Season both sauces with salt and   pepper and keep aside.
Slice half of the zucchini very thin lengthwise and lay a 8×8 square on a   sheet of cling film. Blend tofu with lemon juice, little olive oil, mustard,   salt and pepper. Mix it with the bean sprouts and roll the mix in the   zucchini sheet. Cut the rolls in 3-5 cm pieces. Slice half of the zucchini to   spaghetti. Toss them in a hot pan with a few drops of olive oil for 1 minute.   Season with salt and pepper. Arrange on plate with fenugreek and orange salt   sprinkles.
Chef Gabi’s   Tip
Sprouts are so called Living Foods, and very beneficial to our   body system. Living Foods provide the purest energy available through food,   are packed with vitamins and minerals and are naturally high in fiber.

RAW

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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Talise Nutrition on Physique TV

Many ingredients from the vegetable sector are very healthy by nature. However, we can easily diminish their benefits by preparation. Deep frying is just one example.
Healthy food is not only the ingredient itself. I highly recommend looking also at how a dish is made.

Ideal are raw preparations and marinations, steaming, baking, grilling, short braising or sous vide cooking on low temperatures. Adding salt and fat as late as possible is a bonus too.

Please see here how one of my favorite dishes is made and what the benefits are. It is a good example how a minimum of loss of benefits and a maximum of flavor can be achieved. As well this dish is one of my favorites!

 This was a broadcast about Talise Nutrition at Madinat Jumeirah on Physique TV. Enjoy!

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The Joy of Homemade Jam

I just wanted to share with you a simple recipe for a bit of healthier jam. Guilt free, almost!Honey sweetened and freshly made, it may make a great option for breakfast, cakes, cookies or desserts.
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When ever I have some fruits or berries that are a bit on the softer and riper side, I combine them in a small sauce pan, add a slice of organic lemon with the skin, a small piece of vanilla pot and as much acacia honey as required to sweeten the fruits. This depends pretty much on the fruits and on your taste.

Then I simmer them on low temperature for around 10 – 15 minutes. This is enough to deconstruct the fruits and still leave them in a vivid color a flavor. After that I add a spoonful of either arrowroot, agar agar or tapioca flour, or  and stir that in for a last bubble up on the heat. Again here it depends on the pectine content of the fruits if I need a little bit more of the thickening agent or not. Rule of thumb: 1 teaspoon for around 350 – 400 ml of jam.

Now the jam is ready to be filled in a glass or bowl and it goes in the fridge, awaiting its final use! It keeps well for around 3-5 days when refrigerated. So I never produce too much of it. Making such a small amount of deliciously smelling jam in your kitchen is no work at all and so much pleasure. You should give it a try! I love to eat this jam with some fresh yoghurt for example when I am craving something sweet….

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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.

Sunchokes and Tomatoes

Here is the dish and recipe I have cooked on Dubai One. It was fun to be with Ash and Tom on the show as always!

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Sun Choke Puree & Crisps
2 Portions

 

What to Buy
300 gm sun chokes
80 g potato
1 tomato
10 gm parsley
1 organic lemon (grated skin and juice)
20 gm butter
3 ml olive oil
Salt , Pepper

How to Make It
Wash the sun chokes and slice 2 of them very thin. Place the slices on a pergament paper on a baking tray and dry for around 15 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius in the oven. Peel the remaining sun chokes and the potato, steam them until very soft. Crush them and season the puree with salt and pepper. Dice the tomatoes (preferably with the skin due to the fact that the flavonoids are fully available). Chop the Parsley. Mix tomatoes with parsley, lemon juice and grated skin, season with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange the soft puree in deep plates or small bowls. Top with the tomato parsley salad and crispy sun choke chips. Serve warm, not hot.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
The sun choke is one of the finest source dietary fibers, especially high in oligofructose inulin, which is a soluble dietary fiber. Inulin should not be confused for insulin, which is hormone. The root flesh provides 1.6 mg or 4% of fiber. Inulin is a zero calorie, sweet inert carbohydrate and does not metabolize in the human body, which make the root an ideal sweet snack for diabetics and dieters. They are very good source of minerals and electrolytes especially potassium, iron, and copper. 100 g of fresh root contains 429 mg or 9% of daily-required levels of potassium. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte; helps reduce blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium. 100 g of fresh sun choke contains 3.4 mg or 42.5% of iron, probably the highest quantity among edible roots and tubers.

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Summer Treat with Zucchini the Arabian Way

It was lovely being home in Bavaria, with some rainy days, cool air and the impressive nature scenery I grew up with. As you could see I indulged extensively in my favorite mushroom hunting, and all culinary experience related to it. It was just wonderful.  Now I am already a couple of days back to Dubai, with everyday sunshine, sand, sea and a still very warm summer! No question my food reflects on the weather …..
Try my middle eastern inspired squash recipe, glutenfree, vegan, light and very summer! (taken from one of my cookbooks, Ludwig Verlag Germany, also the image) 

Basmati Rice and Pomegranate stuffed Rondini
4 Portions

What to buy
8 rondini (or optional small zucchini)
200 gr brown Basmati rice
500 ml vegetable stock
1 onion
20 g pistachios
1 organic orange
5 g agave syrup
10 ml olive oil
1 g saffron
1 pomegranate
1 bunch dill
1 bunch spring onions

How to Make It
Wash the orange and grate some of the skin off. Press the juice. Peel the onion and dice it finely.Wash the dill and the spring onions, pat dry and cut finely. Open and clean the pomegranate. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil and add the basmati rice. Cover and simmer on low temperature for around 15 – 20 minutes. Prepare the rondini or zucchini to be filled: Cut a lid off and scrape out the inside with a small spoon. Steam the rondini or zucchini until semi soft for around 3 minutes. Braise the onions in olive oil and agave syrup until golden. Add the orange juice, skin and saffron. Season the rice with this mixture and some salt. Add dill, spring onions and pistachios. Spoon the stuffing into the rondini and keep warm until you serve them.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
Zucchini bring summer on our plates –   they are easy to prepare and taste just great when temperatures outside are still high. Zucchini and all summer squashes are hydrating, very low in calories, and easy to digest. They contain a significant amount of vitamin A, potassium, manganese and folate.