Banana Bread and Old Book Review

Last night I had a baking attack. The cause of my attack was partly restlessness and impatience because I can’t wait to get The Food Press going, partly gluttony and partly trying to avoid doing yoga (yes I have a problem….). But don’t judge me too quickly because baking late at night when nobody is around was almost as zen as my Kundalini session would have been, plus the way I whizzed around the kitchen at an ungodly hour was a total physical workout. I ended up baking late because I got caught looking through my cookbooks, which for me is more than just looking through recipes, it is more like going through some sort of of nostalgic memory lane. In my recent explorations of my very large cookbook collection (in preparation for The Food Press) I have rediscovered quite a few books. Some of these books I bought more than 20 years ago when I first came to the Netherlands, trying to recapture what I experience as a “cinnamon muffin” sort of coziness which I associate so much with the neck of the woods where I partly grew up(the East coast). I guess creating The Food Press is partially a way of recreating those feelings, smells  and sense of community that I find so particularly American. Among the books that I rediscovered was Laurel’s Kitchen , from which I had never cooked anything until recently when I tried a couple of things that turned out very nicely. Although a bit outdated the book has nice common sense recipes, maybe too simple for the me of 21 years ago, but just earthy enough for the present me, and with lots of room to change things around. Nevertheless the introduction is still my favorite part of this book which gives me a fuzzy warm hippy feeling to which I easily allow myself to succumb.  Another gem I came across was Wake up and Smell the Coffee by Laura Zahn. This book has a unique All-American character and many of the recipes are very veganizable, like the Coffee Cake Muffins I made last night in which I substituted an egg for 3 tbsp of chia seeds soaked in a bit of water. But my all time favorite old cookbook is the Kripalu cookbook. Again, it may be partly nostalgia or maybe some mild form of homesickness, but I love this book, and unlike the other two books mentioned earlier I have used this book throughout the years to the point that it has no cover anymore and many of its pages are loose. This is the book from which I have made my Banana Bread all these years. It is a vegan recipe and I have done nothing  except follow the instructions, knowing that by the time it comes out of the oven I will have a deliciously moist, guilt-free loaf.

At about 11:30, after I had made the Banana Bread and the Coffee Cake Muffins I felt a second wind coming and a feeling that I was just beginning, so I proceeded to go ahead and make a Rye-Poppyseed-Pulp Cake. I really would share this recipe with you but unfortunately I forgot to write it down (I guess the late hour did take its toll on me after all). But since it turned out so delicious I will recommend to not forget that bag of rye flour that’s been sitting around your pantry and use it in baking cakes, it works really well (in combination with other flours). I also used the pulp from my morning pumpkin-carrot-sweetpotato juice as well as some of the pulp of the morning’s nut milk and added chia and linseed as “eggs”. Anyway I am afraid that this post is as endless last night’s baking adventure, so I will stop here and leave you with the best Banana Bread recipe ever.

 

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Banana Bread

2 3/4 cups sliced banana
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup rice syrup
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp all spice
pinch of cardamom
2/3 cups chopped walnuts

-blend bananas and oil
-stir syrup into banana mix and combine with a spatula
-in another bowl mix all dry ingredients except walnuts
-add dry ingredients to the banana mixture
-mix with a spoon until well combined and add walnuts and mix again
-pour batter into a bread form and bake in a preheated oven at 375* F for about 40-50 minutes

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Blueberry Crumble


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I sometimes forget how it was that I jumped into this (healthy, plant based)cooking boat. The other day someone asked me and it brought back a bunch of memories. Although I’ve always enjoy cooking and since my teenage years toyed with the idea of not eating meat, it wasn’t until I first expected a baby that began to read about foods and health. Back in 1992 in Holland vegetarianism and health foods was still in quite a primitive state, but when visiting the American Book Center in Amsterdam I would always come home with a book related to foods in some way(Diet for a New Planet by Robbins and Diet for a Small Planet by Francis More Lappe among others). As I remember before switching definitively to plant foods I used to make a killer (no pun intended) lamb masala which my husband loved. One day after having decided to not eat meat I had the brilliant idea to go ahead and substitute the lamb for tofu…..and what a sad disaster that was! It really did taste horrible or worse yet completely bland. My husband politely ate it all and proceeded to ask (almost cry): “can we just eat meat again?” Insecurity overcame me, but didn’t completely beat me. Lo and behold the next day I received a package from the U.S from a dear friend Ellen who lived in Ithaca, the home of the Moosewood restaurants, containing almost all the Moosewood books available at the time. These books opened up a new world for me, they were my bible, security blanket as well as a key to freeing me up to learn how to cook with vegetables without feeling like a boring freak. After those books came the Kripalu cookbook and many others, over 275 to be precise. I don’t seem to get done collecting cooking books, and don’t have any plans to stop in the near future since it seems that cooking plants is becoming more and more delicious, beautiful and creative by the day and I can’t just walk into a book shop without yet another beautiful book. By this point I don’t usually follow recipes anymore (sometimes I do), but I read them like novels and admire the pictures just like I look at the great Dutch painting masters (okay almost).

This Blueberry Crumble was inspired by one of those beautiful books which I just couldn’t leave in the shop: Green Kitchen Stories. On page 37 of that lovely book (oh, I have the Dutch version so in English it will probably be on another page) you can find the original recipe. My crumble was a result of a quick scanning of the recipe and my pantry and it worked beautifully.

 

My Crumble

3 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)
2 cups oat flakes
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 cups of the milk of your choice (I had hazelnut/pecan homemade milk)
3 tbs chia seeds
2 tbs linseeds
vanilla
1/4 cup liquid sweetener (I had honey)
1 tbs coconut oil
1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 pecan

-mix oat flakes and baking powder
-in another bowl mix milk, seeds and vanilla
-in another small bowl mix nuts, coconut oil and sweetener
-put the blueberries in a baking pan and cover with the oat flake mix
-pour the milk and seed mix on top of oats and berries
-spread the nut, oil and sweetener mix on top of everything
-bake in a preheated oven at 190* for about 30 minutes

drizzle with coconut milk and a bit more sweetener if desired!

 

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Oshawa Cake from the Food Press

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It has been a while since I last made time to write stuff down, but I certainly haven’t been sitting around. I have been cooking and experimenting more than ever and that is because as of November we will be the happy owners of a juice bar/cafe/catering in the center of my town. This is a little dream that has been developing in different ways for the last 20 years and it seems that for some strange reason providence decided that this was the right time for this dream to materialize! In the coming time (if time permits) I hope to be posting about this new baby of mine. We came to live in Almere, a city about 30 minutes from Amsterdam . Almere is an interesting phenomenon since it is a true  example of Dutch ingenuity. It is a city which was created from land gained from the sea. As a result it is nothing like the images that most of us associate with Holland: old, gingerbread style houses, canals, gable stones, small scale coziness and wooden shoes. Almere is new, the architecture here is mostly very geometric, houses are slightly bigger(for Dutch standards) and the citizens keep more to themselves, often commuting to and from Amsterdam for work. Coming to live here eight years ago was a great shock for me, since this futuristic city didn’t feed my imagination and to be blunt I found it quite ugly. But, just like everything in life things, cities and people change and Almere has taken a change for the better. The architecture has become more interesting. Newer trendier shops are appearing and most importantly (to me) I have changed how I see this town. Where I saw lack, I began to see possibilities and that has made all the difference. One of the things that made Almere so unattractive and futuristic to me was what I experienced as a lack of community. Here there have been no tiny cafes or quirky shops, just the “normal” things to satisfy your basic needs (okay, with maybe a tiny bit extra!), for the fun inspirational stuff one has had to go to Amsterdam. Well that’s changing and I am proud to say that our Juice bar-Cafe will a part of the change. Our shop is tiny, just big enough for 5 tables, and big enough to serve as setting for all those like minded souls who are craving for that cozy, trendy, organic, delicious, homemade, healthy hangout. We will be working with local produce and farmers and hope to serve as a source of inspiration and warmth for all those out there who feel the need for a smile and good food. Our baby is called The Food Press  and just like with any regular baby the preparations before its actual physical arrival has been intense. As of now the contractors are running somewhat behind which has made us postpone our opening day, but our goal remains sometime in November.

One of the most important aspects of The Food Press is that we want to only sell stuff that we make ourselves. That means juices, smoothies (made with our own sprouted nut milks), bowls with fresh products from our salad bar, cakes, muffins etc as well as French Press and cold pressed coffee. In the process of preparing our menu I have gone back to look for recipes which are delicious, economically feasible and healthy. I remember that years ago (in my macro period) I often made and eat Oshawa cake. I had a great recipe somewhere from a macrobiotic study I once followed. I used this recipe many times, but it was not part of a cooking book, it was just a lose sheet. Every time I used it I thought: next time I need this I won’t be able to find it. Well yesterday I couldn’t find it, but I remembered the basics, which are extremely simple. Funny enough I happened to look through Rens Kroe’s trendy new book Power Foods and found a recipe for this very old fashion recipe. This helped me with some quantities, but in reality a recipe is hardly necessary. So, enjoy your left over brown rice!

 

Oshawa Cake

4 cups of cooked brown rice
1/2 cup rice syrup
1 cup roasted hazelnuts
1 cup raisins or chopped dates
zest od 1/2 orange
1/2 sesame seeds roasted
1/2 cup spelt flour
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
vanilla
2 Tbs neutral tasting vegetable oil
100 gram (about 11/4 cup) oat flakes

-preheat oven to 325*
-oil a cake form spread three quarter of the sesame seeds on the cake form to cover bottom and cover sides and bottom with three quarter of the sesame seeds
-mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl and put mixture in the prepared form
-press it with your wet hands so that it fills the form well
-bake for about 45 minutes
-let it cool before taking it out of the form

 

 

 

Brunchner


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Easter brunch is a tradition in our family. Usually the Easter bread with almond filling is made the day before and early on Sunday morning I’ll get up to make the rest which I shouldn’t really call brunch but Brunchner, since I truly fill up the table so that we can be continually eating from breakfast till dinner non-stop. Beside the standard stuff like tea, juice, bread, soy yogurt and some non vegan stuff for the less stricter or non veganlly oriented among us, we always have granola and tofu scramble. The rest of the menu usually depends on how creative I (or my kids) are feeling on that weekend. This year my daughter Ella took care of the Easter bread and the cinnamon rolls, which also have become part of our Brunchner tradition. I made the tofu scramble, which I thought came out finger linking due to a spontaneous brilliant idea I had due to some left over cashew nuts I had soaking on the counter. I also found a fantastic recipe for vegetable rolls rapped with rice paper from My New Roots blog(one of the most inspirational healthy cooking blogs I have seen so far), and concocted a fresh tomato salsa, potato pancakes and chocolate mousse. Daughter Anna took care of setting the table and making tea and coffee and Tim is our house photographer who makes most of the pictures on this blog. Cyrille usually is our D.J. and mostly concentrates on making sure that we get to hear the best possible recording of St. Matthew’s passion. This year however Ella took over the music with a beautiful recording of a Mendelssohn string quartet and Cyrille dug in the garden until the food was ready.Our oldest son didn’t show up until later in the afternoon since he had slept in after having had a recital the night before.

Granola

3 cups of oat flakes
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup of melted coconut oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 coconut (that’s those white little cubes you see in the picture which I got from the farmer’s market, but regular desiccated coconut will due)
any other nuts or dried fruits you like

preheat oven at 180* c

– mix oat flakes, cinnamon, maple syrup and coconut oil in a bowl.
– add seeds and nuts
– put the mixture in an oven tray
– bake stirring regular to prevent burning
– when the flakes are golden brown remove from the tray from the oven and add the coconut and raisins and the optional fruits.
– serve with almond milk or (soy) yogurt

 

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Tofu Scramble

1 block of tofu
1 onion in cubes
2 cloves of garlic minced
about a cup of corn kernels
1/2 red bell pepper in small cubes
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. majoram
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tbs. dijon mustard
1 cup of soaked cashews blended with a cup of water and 2 tsp. umesu vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 cup minced parsley

– crumble the tofu with your hands into a bowl
– in a broad heavy pan heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes
– add the bell peppers and corn and saute for a couple of more minutes
– add the grated carrots
– add the tofu and the herbs
– cook for 5 minutes stirring regularly
– add the mustard, and salt
– pour the cashew cream and saute a couple of minutes
– turn off the fire and add the parsley

Serve with salsa

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Vegetable Rolls

I would say to just look at this link and while you’re at it look through the whole amazing blog.

 

 

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Chocolate Mousse

For this I mostly just improvised with the following ingredients in the blender:

1 cup soaked cashew nuts
1 cup almond milk
3 dates
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 chia seeds

– blend everything until very smooth
– put in individual serving dishes and refrigerate until ready to serve

Sexy Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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A couple of days ago my 16 year old son Tim, who takes most of the pictures for this blog was in the mood to take a ” food picture”. He has been amazing at getting to know our new Cannon camera and definitely inspires me to make my dishes as beautiful as possible. We have developed a fun collaboration which pushes us both to be better at this. Looking around at the ingredients I had in the kitchen, a carrot cake seemed like a possibility. We decided on an elegant carrot cake, sort of like the refined, well dressed sexy lady who stands out at the party. We wanted the mystery and elegance to ooze from this cake and I think we managed, not only with the beautiful shots he took, but with the taste of the cake as well. To me carrot cake can be a wintery sort of cake, perfectly suitable to the weather and mood here in the Netherlands, due to the carrots and the warm spices. However this winter has been extremely mild and for a while now we have been experiencing symptoms of spring; its a matter of fact Easter feels around the corner. Well, this cake is dressed for Easter, while at the same time keeping the spiced wintery carrot cake feeling to it.

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Carrot Cake

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup neutral tasting organic oil
1 1/2 raisins
1/2 cup maple syrup
grated zest of 1 orange
11/2 grated carrots
2 tsp. grated ginger
2 cups flour(mix whole and white)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 salt
1 cup walnuts chopped
1/4 date syrup
1 can pineapple in juice

-Preheat oven 180* and prepare two 8 inch pans by covering the bottom with baking paper and greasing the sides.
-Put the water, oil 1/2 of the raisins, the syrup and the orange zest in the blender and blend well.
-Add the carrots and ginger and pulse a couple of times.
-Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
-Add the blended wet ingredients and briefly mix.
-Add the remaining cup of raisins and the nuts, stir
-Bake for about 35-40 minutes
-Let it cool off and then transfer to a wire rack to frost
-spread one of the cakes with date syrup, or another sweetener
-put the other cake on top and frost with the cashew orange frosting(below)
-garnish with pieces of pineapple and some more grated lemon zest
(adapted from a recipe by John Robbins)

 

Cashew Orange Frosting

2 cups of soaked cashews
1/2 cup rice syrup or maple syrup
vanilla
juice of 1 orange
the zest of 1/2 lemon
a pinch of salt
about 1 cup water
1/2 tsp. turmeric

-put everything in the blender and blend until creamy, silky and shiny.
-let the frosting rest a bit before using so that it thickens a bit more
-pour from the center of the cake outwards.

*The flower garnish on the picture are dried roses which I found in an Asian foods store

Home Made Pasta and Semolina Cake

Pasta
IMG_2387If I told you that making pasta is easy, that it takes very little time and ingredients and that you don’t need a single machine to make it would you believe me? Well you don’t have to. Here is the deal, you take flour, salt and water and you make a dough that sticks together and is easy to knead. You form a ball, and wrap it in plastic or put it under an upside down bowl. Let it rest for an hour or less if you don’t have that much time and then roll it out using a rolling pin. Cut it in the shape you would like and set it on a clean and dry kitchen towel to dry. You can also hang it on a wooden stick. After you are done rolling and cutting you can either let it dry a bit or cook it right away in a large pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil until al dente. Make sure that the sauce is already done so that your pasta doesn’t have to wait for the sauce.

This is a very easy, not very messy and it tastes a zillion times better than anything store bought.
Try mixing different sorts of flours. For the pasta in the picture I used white spelt and semolina. Don’t be concerned with measurements, for more pasta use more flour and water and for less pasta less. It works!
Besides creating delicious pasta this is a beautifully artistic activity, and just like with bread it connects you with your food in a very basic way.

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Yesterday I was going to make Baklava, but I didn’t have filo. My husband volunteered to go to the store and buy some, but in the time he was gone I made this Semolina Almond Orange Cake with the ingredients I had at home. It came out really well, but it was even better today, when the orange syrup had been absorbed into the cake and the tastes had blended.

Semolina Almond Orange Cake

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Semolina Almond Orange Cake
3/4 c. almond flour
1 c. semolina
1 c. white flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 rice syrup
8 tbs. sucanat
the rasp of one orange
1/4 soy yogurt
1/2 c. soy milk

Syrup

3/4 c. rice syrup or honey
the juice of one orange
a handful of peeled pistachios
a handful of walnuts
a handful of raisins
1 tbs. rose water

-mix the dry ingredients in a bowl
-mix the wet ingredients in another bowl
-add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients
-pour batter in a round cake pan, in which the bottom has been covered with wax paper and the sides have been oiled
-bake for about 30 minutes at 175* centigrades
-in the mean time put all the syrup ingredients in a small pan and bring them to a boil.
-after the cake is done make tiny wholes tooth pick or sate stick and pour the syrup with the nuts and raisins
-let it cool completely

 

Sweetness

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I had promised myself and my Facebook page to post this post today and it is now tomorrow! But if going to bed late counts as today then I’m all right.
These are two recipes I made this week.The brownies I’ve made millions of times and they work really well(arrowroot being the magic ingredient).  Muffins were part of today’s breakfast. My twelve year old daughter will not eat another bowl of porridge, which seems to be a tradition with twelve year old girls in this family. For years our family was totally happy eating nice large bowls of porridge of all sorts for breakfast, but as the kids got older they began to reject this tradition for something less “bulky”. This has made breakfast a bit more complicated for me since the old trusted bowl of porridge has been boycotted. Specially on cold, rainy Dutch school mornings it’s not always easy to magically create a nutritious breakfast out of the blue, which will sustain everyone until noon. However on lazy Saturdays or Sundays mornings a healthy muffin and a nice cup of tea can be a nice way to start off the day. The parsnip-carrot idea came about because I didn’t have enough carrots in the house this morning(what kind of nut has more parsnip the carrots in the fridge?). It turned out to give the muffins a nice natural sweetness, and as a result 8 tablespoons of sucanat were enough. Great breakfast muffins!

Fudgy Brownies

1 whole wheat or spelt cup flour(you can try substituting 4 tbs of the flour with coconut flour)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup arrowroot
1-11/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 water
1/3 light olive oil
1/2 chopped nuts

-mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
-mix all the wet ingredients in another bowl
-beat the dry ingredients into the wet
-cover a square baking pan with wax paper and pour in the batter
-bake for about 25 minutes at 180* C

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Carrot Parsnip Muffins

2 cups flour(1/2 whole and 1/2 white)
1/4 coconut flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbs maca
3 tbs. flax seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
8 tbs. sucanat
1 cup soy milk
cinnamon
1 cup grated carrot and 1 cup grated parsnip

-in a bowl mix all the dry ingredients
-in another bowl mix all the wet ingredients
-mix wet and dry ingredients together and add the grated veggies

-pour batter in muffin tins and bake at 180* C for about 20 minutes

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Real Food

Buckwheat Pilaf

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I love when food looks like food, when it doesn’t pretend to be something else, when it is not ornamented with weird contraptions, when the end product is clearly traceable to its original source, when it smells like it was cooked by people, when the process is not hidden, when it is art not because it has “make-up” on but because it is so beautiful, natural, colorful, delicious, nourishing and satisfying that it fills me with a sense of wonder for the transformative power and imagination that we people have to keep ourselves alive with the wonderful and pure products that nature so abundantly provides us with.
Here are two very, very simple dishes I made this week, which I thought were so simple and attractive that there were worth sharing

Buckwheat Pilaf
2 cups of buckwheat rinsed
2 1/4 cups water
2 tbs. olive oil
1 onion cut in small cubes
2 or 3 garlic cloves minced
1 large carrot diced
1 cube of vegetable bouillon
1 tsp. turmeric powder
a pinch of saffron
a handful of currants
a handful of roasted pine nuts

-in a deep pan warm the olive oil
-add the garlic, stir and quickly after add the onion
-stir a bit at medium fire
-add the carrots, the vegetable bouillon cube(crumbled), the turmeric and the saffron
-saute a bit, then add the buckwheat
-saute a bit more and add the water and a pinch of salt
-bring to a boil, lower the heat and place a flame deflector under the pan
-cook covered for about 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed and the buckwheat is cooked
-turn off fire
-add the currants and pine nuts and mix gently with a fork
-garnish with lots of parsley and tomatoes chopped in small cubes
-serve with a salad and a nice glass of white wine

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Potato Mash with Mushroom Garnish

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Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Garnish

a buch of potatoes
olive oil
sea salt
4 cups of sliced or chopped mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 cup soy milk

-boil the potatoes until they are soft
-get rid of the cooking water and pure the potatoes with a hand blender, adding salt and a generous(reasonably generous) amount of olive oil and about a tsp. of salt to create a very smooth puree
-put puree in a baking form, make it flat and smooth and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and soy milk
-sprinkle with black pepper
-bake at 200* c. for about 15 minutes or until it begins to get a nice toasty color on top
-take out of the oven and sprinkle the sautéed mushrooms on top

Mushrooms
-saute the mushrooms with the garlic and olive oil until the liquid has disappeared and they have become quite dry.

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December 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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December is a weird month. It’s weird because it feels like the shortest month of the year, shorter than any leap year I’ve ever experienced , but at the same time more happens in December than at any other other time.  Here in the Netherlands December begins with the Sinterklaas celebration which occur at the beginning of the month. This celebration involves presents exchange, special foods, time for and with family, harmony and warmth. The weeks building up to Christmas also involve a certain special approach, yes we go to work, make dinner and take out our dogs, but in the mean time we feel the excitement and pressure of the impending  “big day”. Whether we are religious or not the feeling of advent has a huge effect on our psychic and physical life. Christmas decorations, Christmas music, candles, Christmas celebrations at work and at schools, a natural feeling or desire to look inwards, to light candles, to show compassion and love for humanity, to be home curled up with a fine book and a warm drink, while at the same time feeling the pressure to hunt for the right Christmas presents, fantasize about making the perfect Christmas dinner and planning for the perfect Christmas evening with the right dynamic of loving friends and family. At the same time December is a time for wrapping things up at work and at school, students have tests, have to turn in papers  and teachers have to grade them. Musicians and dancers play and dance more than at other times of the year. All in all money and stress seem to have taken central role in this special time of the year.

I also have contributed to the December frenzy. I also hurried to celebrate Sinterklaas with my younger kids. Ran around trying to find the right number of presents so that one wouldn’t have more than the other. I too stayed up late grading tests in the company of a lit candle, trying to get a feel for advent while my eyes closed craving sleep. I did my early morning December march along with hundred of other Amsterdam commuters, coffee in hand walking side by side each other, fixated on catching a train, not seeing the Christmas ornaments and advertisements, but having them subliminally address our need for something which goes way deeper than the consumer behavior which they are meant to awaken in us.

As we all know December’s craze is not done with the celebration of the Messiah’s birth, there are five days of cease fire before we embark on that last ritual of the year. New Year’s eve celebrations provides another potential moment for reflection plus a cause for rejoicing in the fact that we’ve made it through the 365 day cycle yet one more time. In Holland the New Year is welcome with an unbelievable amount of dangerous, expensive  and often illegal fireworks, which create quite a lot of commotion as well as its share of accidents. The next day, the streets are filled with the remnants of the previous night’s activities and in a state not too different from that of a war zone.  December has come to an end, and with its madness.

But don’t get me wrong, I am not a cynic, I have always loved December and have always experienced it as a special time of the year in the positive sense. However this December I had to reflect when my twelve year old daughter complained about how fast “everything” was going. Indeed as a fifty year old I feel an exponential quality to the way in which December wheezes by, but the fact that my young daughter experiences such a hastiness during this period makes me wonder if we are not creating a life for ourselves which resembles  a film in accelerated motion.

In moments of doubt I did that which cannot be rushed, that is cook!
Most of my days have been spend cooking and baking. This post may not show the extent of this truth, since I am getting used to my new camera and haven’t been able to to take the kind of pictures I would like with it. But the time will come when my Canon EOS 1100D will serve my purpose.

Blueberry Glogg Pie

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This recipe was inspired by the Scandinavian Christmas drink Glogg, which we so much enjoyed this Christmas. I figured why not make a pie out of it!

Crust:
2 cups whole spelt flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbs coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup of cold water

-mix all the dry ingredients
-add the coconut oil and mix with a fork until you reach a sandy consistency
-add the water and create a ball of dough
-flatten the ball and roll between two pieces of wax paper to create a thin large circle to fit into your pie form
-fit the dough into the pie form and poke with a fork in several places on the bottom of the dough
-with the remnants of dough, after fitting it on the pie form, make a lattice top for the pie, after you have poured in the fillings.

Cream Filling:
1 cup raw cashews
3 tbs. coconut flour
1 cup water
4 tbs. honey or rice syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

-put everything in the blender and blend well
-pour on the bottom of the uncooked pie crust

Filling:
2 cups of (frozen)
1 orange, zest
a dusting of powder cloves
1 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
handful of raisins
2 whole star anise
1 inch/2,5 cm fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2cups of red wine with
3 tablespoons of arrowroot
1/2 to 1 cup of honey or rice syrup

-mix all the ingredients in a bowl
-pour filling in the prepared pie crust, on top of the cashew cream and make a lattice cover for it
-bake for about 20 minutes in a pre warmed oven at 200* cent.

 

Pear Upside-Down Cake with a New Blog Look!

pear pie 1

Upside Down
I lived in a funny town 
Where everything was upside down!
The birds walked and the humans flew
Where the trees were totally blue!
Trees talked and laughed a lot
They stole each other’s fruit and fought
The bear was gentle, kind and sweet
He never ever ate raw meat!
Fishes went to school in a pool
Where a frog principal ruled.
Water was blue and the sky flew
And told me in life always be true!

By: Rosy, Tulika, Nikitar

Another Quick Post from one Busy Girl to Cyber Space
Pear Upside-Down Cake
If you’re into moist fruity cakes like I am this upside down cake will please you.

Cake:
3/4 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 cup white spelt flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp.baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 cup maple or rice syrup
vanilla

Glaze:
2 or 3 medium pears cut in half then thinly sliced
1/2 cup pear or apple juice
1 tbs. rice syrup
1 1/2 tbs arrowroot dissolved in 1/4 cup of the juice mentioned above
dusting of cinnamon

Cake:
-preheat oven to 180*
-Prepare a round cake pan by covering the bottom with wax paper and oiling it with about 1 tsp. olive oil and greasing the sides
-in a bowl mix all dry ingredients
-in another bowl mix all the wet ingredients
-mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients
-drizzle the baking pan with about 2 extra tbs. of maple syrup and spread evenly
-place the pears gracefully in the prepared cake pan
-then pour the batter evenly on top
-bake for about 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean
-cool the cake and the invert onto a serving plate, peel the wax paper off carefully

Glaze:
-in a small pan heat up the juice and syrup
-add the 1/4 cup of juice with arrowroot and stir until it becomes thick and shiny
-brush, or gently evenly pour the thickened juice on top of the cake and sprinkle with cinnamon

One word of advice: don’t do what we do at or house and devour the cake before it is cooled off, it will not only leave you with an unpleasantly burned throat, but it won’t taste nearly as good. Wait until the cake has cooled down, it will be worth it!

pear pie 2