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Clementine Tarts

What is more lovely than the citrus smell of clementines!  This beautiful winter fruit is constantly in my fruit bowl this time of the year and today they were calling to me to make them into something more.  Something that will explore their intense pure flavor and scent.  So with much creativity in the kitchen this morning, I give you my winter dessert spectacular, Clementine Tarts with Clementine Ginger Cream on top of Citrus Macaroon Cookies!

Clementine Tarts

Clementine Ginger Cream:

  • 1 c Clementine segments
  • 1 tsp grated fresh Ginger
  • 1/2 c Cashews
  • 1/2 tsp Lime Juice
  • 1 tbls Coconut Oil, melted

In a Magic Bullet using the flat blade or blender, blend the clementine segments with the ginger.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until completely smooth.  Empty into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let set in the fridge.

Citrus Macaroon Cookies:

  • 1 1/4 c dried shaved Coconut
  • 1 tsp Clementine & Lime zest
  • 1/3 c ground Cashews
  • 1 tsp Lime Juice
  • 3 tbls Agave Nectar
  • 2 tbls Coconut Oil

In a medium size bowl mix the coconut, cashews and zest together with a spatula.  Add the rest of the ingredients and continue blending until completely incorporated.  Dump the cookie dough in the middle of a 1.5 foot of wax paper on a flat counter top.  Using your hands or the spatula press and smooth over the dough to make a flat even surface about 1/4 inch thick.  You can also put another sheet of wax paper over the dough and roll a rolling pin over for a completely flat surface.   Using a 2.5 inch (6 cm) cookie cutter that is lightly wiped with coconut oil, cut out shapes out of the dough.  Fold the sides over of the wax paper to cover the dough and place on a flat surface or on a cutting board in the freezer for 15 min.  Once the cookies have hardened use the cookie cutter once move to loosen the cookie and remove it from it’s place with a spatula.  Set on another wax paper and set back in the fridge until just about to serve.  With the remaining dough, let it sit on the counter for 5 min or until it is soft and repeat the steps as before to create the flat cookie.  Place the remaining cookies with the other in the freezer.

To assemble:

  • 5-6 Clementines

Once you are ready to serve, place the Citrus Macaroon Cookies on silver or decorative flat platter.  Spoon about 1.5 tbls of the Clementine Ginger Cream over the top and add 3 de-seeded clementine segments to the top.  Serve and enjoy immediately!

Makes 16 tarts, with a 2.5 inch or 6 cm cookie cutter

Chocolate Covered Marzipan

Nothing says Christmas in Europe like Chocolate Covered Marzipan!  It is something I look forward to making every year.  And now that the first snow has fallen and our Christmas tree is up and decorated, it is time to make them!  So what is in Marzipan?  It is simply, sugar and finely ground almond meal cooked down and then molded into any shape or covered with chocolate.  This recipe is far quicker and easier to make than the traditional cooked version.  And I know the Christmas season is hectic so I’ve offered two chocolate covered alternatives to the recipe: a quick Chocolate Powder Dusting or impress your guests with a rich Belgium Chocolate shell!   Guten Appetit!!

Chocolate Covered Marzipan

Marzipan:

  • 2 1/2 c Almond meal
  • 1/2 c Agave Nectar
  • 10 drops Bitter Almond Essence

In a small bowl fold in the almond meal, agave and bitter almond essence with a spatula.  With damp hands and using a 1/2 tablespoon size measuring spoon, measure and roll into small compressed balls.

For Chocolate Powder dusting over the Marzipan:

  • 1 tbls Cacao Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

In a shallow bowl shift the cacao powder and cinnamon.  Roll each marzipan ball in the cacao powder until completely covered being sure to shake off excess powder.

For Belgium Chocolate covered Marzipan:

Follow the directions and ingredients for dipping the Marzipan in Belgium Chocolate.  Let set in the fridge until just before ready to serve.

Serve on a silver platter.

Makes 36 marzipan balls

Pecan Pie

A few years back I was standing at a bus stop in London feeling like I was missing out on the Thanksgiving spirit.  I was leaving work and knew around the same time my family was starting to get together to enjoy Thanksgiving.  And then I had the most brilliant idea…my own dinner party!  I scrambled for my phone and dialed my friend Paddy’s number.  I asked him if he wanted to make a Thanksgiving dinner with me and invite a few common friends over.  He then turned as excited as me and we chatted about the menu the rest of my bus ride home.  That weekend we drove  to 3 different grocery stores to find the right ingredients to make the traditional dinner.  We had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner in the end even though most of the food was served cold!  So with only a few more days until Thanksgiving, it’s time for Pecan Pie!  This year surprise your guests with this deliciously sweet raw version made with a Candied Pecan Crust and a creamy Citrus Pecan filling.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Pecan Pie

Candied Pecan Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/4 c Pecans
  • 1/2 c Dates, if hard soak for 30 min in room temp water
  • 2 1/2 tsp Clementine or Tangerine Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice or Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt

Process the pecans until a course meal forms, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Wipe a pie pan with coconut oil and press the pecan dough into the pan to form the crust.

Citrus Pecan Filling:

  • 2 small or 1 1/2 large yellow Bananas
  • 1/2 c Pecans, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1/2 c Clementine or Tangerine Juice
  • 2 Soft Medjool Dates
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice or Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Powder
  • 3 tbls Ground Flax Seeds

Blend all the ingredients until completely smooth.  Empty into a bowl and fold in the flax.  Pour into the prepared pie crust and smooth over.  Decorate with additional pecans and the leaves from the clementines/ tangerines.

Makes 1 pie

Breakfast Bananas with Spiced Agave

I am so pleased to say that we have finally moved into our new place!  It is out of the city center and right next to the lake in a lovely area called Rotherbaum (Red Tree in German).  After living in city centers for many years now I forgot what it’s like to only hear the trees blowing at night.

So after many weeks of slowly unpacking and a few trips to IKEA we finally able to enjoy a meal at our dining room table.  Weekend breakfast being my favorite, consist of a brightly colored fresh fruit salad.  But in my new, double the size kitchen I have the counter space to be more creative.  So here are 2 versions of a twist on the normal fruit salad, Breakfast Bananas in: Berry flavor with Raspberries, Pecans and Lemon Cream; and Tropical flavor with Mango, Macadamia Nuts and Coconut Cream.  For presentation purposes I made a half recipe of both for the photo above.  Serve it with Spiced Agave on the side and drizzle right before you eat.  Enjoy these for breakfast, dessert or make the cream and agave in advance and take it to work for the afternoon sweet tooth cravings!

Breakfast Bananas with Spiced Agave

Breakfast Bananas:

  • 2 Bananas
  • 1 recipe for Lemon or Coconut Cream (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 c Raspberries, Mango or other fruit
  • 1/4 c Pecans, Macadamia or other nuts
  • 1 tsp Dried Unsweetened Shaved Coconut
  • 1 recipe for Spiced Agave (recipe follows)

Slice the bananas lengthwise and set on a plate with the flat/ cut side up.  Spoon the cream over the bananas and top with fruit and nuts.  Sprinkle with coconut and serve with the left over fruit and agave, allowing your guests to drizzle themselves.

Lemon Cream:

  • 1/2 c Cashews (optional, soaked for 30 min)
  • 1 1/2 tbls Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbls Filtered Water
  • 1 tbls Agave Nectar
  • Pinch of Vanilla Powder

Coconut Cream:

  • 8 + 3 tbls Dried Unsweetened Shaved Coconut, separated
  • 6 tbls Filtered Water
  • 2 tbls Fresh Young Coconut Meat or Cashews (optional, soaked for 30 min)
  • 1/2 tbls Pulp from the Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Agave Nectar

Blend 8 tbls of dried coconut with the water for 30 seconds.  Strain through a nut seed bag or mesh metal sieve to produce 3 1/2 – 4 tbls of Coconut Milk.   Blend 3 tbls Coconut Milk with the rest of the ingredients in a Magic Bullet using the flat blade or blender until completely smooth.

Spiced Agave:

  • 1 tbls Agave Nectar
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger and Cloves)

In a small bowl, shift in spices over the agave nectar being sure to stir continually to prevent lumps.

Serves 2

Spiderweb Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

With Halloween coming closer, all weekend I have been in full spirit making Halloween inspired yum-yums and watching the Munsters.  I have decided that if I could be anyone, it would be Lilly Munster.  I would dress like it was Halloween everyday, decorate the entire house like a haunted house and make Halloween inspired dinners every night for my family.  So to start, I made these Spiderweb Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Chewy and chocolatie, they are perfect to enjoy with almond milk or bat milk, if we were in the Munsters house!

Spiderweb Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Spiderweb Frosting:

  • 1/4 c Cashews
  • 1 tbls Agave Nectar
  • 2 tsp Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 tsp Filtered Water

In a Magic Bullet using the flat blade or in a blender, blend all the ingredients until completely smooth. Empty into a plastic bag and let harden in the fridge while you make the Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies:

  • 2/3 c Walnuts
  • 2/3 c Dates
  • 3 tbls Cacao Powder
  • 3 tbls Cacao Nibs (this will provide the chocolate chip crunch)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Powder

In a food processor, process the walnuts, then add the dates and after add the rest of the ingredients.  Roll the dough into 1 1/2 tbls size balls and form into cookie shapes.

To frost, cut/poke a tiny 1 mm hole in the plastic bag.  With a steady hand, frost 3 cross lines across the cookie that all meet in the middle.  Then add 2-3 circles to resemble cobwebs over the top of the crossed lines.  For safe storage, face cookies side by side so as to not destroy the cobweb frosting.

Makes 16-18 cookies

Caramel Apples

My favorite time of the year is here, Halloween!  Being born in October, I have had an obsessional love for Halloween since I was 5!  I would pull out the Halloween box in August and run around at the end of summer wearing my Halloween costume.  Outside of the States, Halloween is still quite a new holiday that is only slowly catching on.  Usually when I start to talk about Halloween, it is answered with the question, “When is Halloween?”  You can see I am alone with trying to celebrate it.  But I have started to make my own Halloween and this year I started celebrating with a Pumpkin Carving Party!  It was very interesting explaining how to carve a pumpkin to my German guests.  At one point the Americans were sitting on the floor carving and the German’s stood together talking about soccer!  But with a bit of cinnamon apple cider and The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Specials playing in the background everyone got their hands in their pumpkin.  And they all turned out pretty spooky including the Obama one!

To kick start my favorite holiday of the year I created these Raw Caramel Apples.  They were so simple and delicious!  I could not believe how similar they tasted to caramel!

Raw Caramel Apples

Raw Caramel:

  • 1 c Soft Dates such as Majool, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c Almond Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Maca Powder (optional, for flavor)
  • Pinch Vanilla Powder
  • Pinch Celtic Sea Salt

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until completely smooth.  Scape down the sides of the blender and rock the blender to help the thick caramel blend completely.

For 4 Caramel Apples, stab each apple with a stick.  Empty the caramel in a shallow bowl and rotate each apple in the caramel.  Use a butter knife to smooth over the surface of each apple.  Pat each caramel apple with crushed pecans if desired.

For Caramel Apple Slices, empty the caramel and crushed pecans into separate bowls for dipping.  Serve with sliced apples.

Makes 4 Caramel Apples

Almond Orange Cookies

I found myself in Oslo last weekend.  A small city packed with new and old and fashionably dressed blond women.  I started with taking a ferry to Bygdøy, an area filled with museums and lovely Norwegian homes.  Out of all the museums I visited, the Viking museum with an 1,100 year old completely preserved Viking Ship (pictured lower right) was the most interesting.  The detailed wood carved ship was a piece of art in itself.  And walking from one museum to the next I couldn’t help my fascination with the Norwegian homes.  They possess quite a pleasant Nordic charm.

While running from museum, to palace, to castle, to shop, I kept my eyes out for a  Kransekake.  The link shows a Norwegian chef preparing this traditional almond circular cake, stacked high and decorated with Norwegian flags or ribbons.  The Kransekake are usually made for weddings, Christmas or other special occasions and are astonishing beautiful for how simple they are made.  Once home I set to work creating these Almond Orange Cookies, my own simplified version.  They turned out wonderfully chewy with a perfect almond flavor and a light orange kick.  These lovely cookies are absolutely divine tasting, it is impossible to only eat one!

Almond Orange Cookies

  • 1 1/4 c Almond Meal
  • 1/4 c Agave Nectar
  • 2 tbls Raw Almond Butter
  • 6-8 drops Almond Extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp Orange Zest, finely chopped
  • Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
  • 14-16 Raw Whole Almonds, to top each cookie

Add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a spatula.  Roll into 1 1/2 tbls size balls or cookie shapes and top with an almond.  These are very sticky so it is best to separate them with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge.  For a chewier cookies shape into cookies, top with an almond and dehydrate for 10-12 hours at 115 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Makes 14-16 cookies

Apple Strudel Cheesecake

It’s the opening weekend of the Oktoberfest here in Germany and although we are living far north of Munich I was determined to celebrate this holiday in full Bavarian spirit!  We have been to the Hofbräuhaus in Hamburg, of which the Munich original is the country’s most famous of brewery beer houses.  There were hundreds of men and women dressed in the traditional Bavarian outfits, Lederhosen and Dirndls.  Germans take Oktoberfest very seriously, so I had to be no exception!

I really enjoyed my night and seeing what the Oktoberfest was all about!  One thing I noticed was the food and beer were heavy and hearty.  So today I decided to enter the SOS Challenge to use the season fruit, APPLES, and recreated this cheesecake version of a traditional Bavarian dessert!  This Apple Strudel Cheesecake is served the traditional way with apples and raisins and topped with a warm Vanilla Sauce.  This was the perfect roundup to my first Oktoberfest weekend!

Apple Strudel Cheesecake

Almond Walnut Crust:

  • 1/2 c Walnuts, optional soaked for 8 hours and left out to dry or dehydrated
  • 1/2 c Almond Meal
  • 1/2 c Dates
  • 2 tbls Filtered Water
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Powder
  • Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt

First process the walnuts until a meal forms.  Add the almond meal and the cinnamon, vanilla and salt and process for a few seconds to mix.  Next add the dates and process.  Lastly, add the water and process until a single ball forms.  Dump into a 8″ spring pan and press into the bottom.

Apple Strudel Cheesecake filling:

  • 1 Apple
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 c Cashews, optional soaked for 2 hours
  • 3/4 c Pure Apple Juice
  • 2 tbls Almond Milk
  • 2 tbls Agave Nectar
  • 1/4 c Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tbls Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Core the apple and blend the apple and lemon juice in a Magic Bullet or blender until completely smooth.  Pour into the blender and add the rest of the ingredients and blend until completely smooth.  Pour over the crust and freeze about 1-2 hours or place in the fridge overnight to set.

Apple Topping:

  • 2 Apples
  • Juice from 1 Lemon
  • 2-3 tbls Raisins or Sultans

Core and thinly slice the apple.  Dip each slice briefly in the lemon juice, this will prevent the apples from browning.  Top the cheesecake with the apple slices and sprinkle the raisins or sultans over the top.

Vanilla Sauce:

  • 1/3 c Cashews, optional soaked for 2 hours
  • 1/3 c Filtered Water
  • 2 tsp Agave Nectar
  • 1 tsp Liquid Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Powder

Blend all the ingredients in a Magic Bullet or Blender until completely smooth.  Either pour over the cheesecake before serving or drizzle each slice with Vanilla Sauce.

Makes 1 8″ cheesecake

Raspberry Belgium Chocolates

Last weekends adventures took me to Brussels and Bruges.  The land of Belgium chocolate, waffles, double deep-fried fries and much more tempting non-raw delicatesses.  My Aunt and Uncle were dying  to see and eat everything in the city.  So we hit all the sites, visiting several chocolate shops and walked down the tiny cobblestone alleyways.  We also took a canal cruise in Bruges, a gorgeous almost fairytale like Medieval village.

I was so fascinated with how well-preserved the village was and just adored every building whether it was the Church of our Lady with Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, the Belfry bell tower or the historic Grote Market Square, a World Heritage Site of UNESCO.  My Uncle, a professional photographer was making us walk at the speed of a snail with all the photos he was taking.  I didn’t mind since the city was eye candy in itself and I’m hoping you could see why!

While in Brussels we decided to participate in a chocolate making course at Planète Chocolat, which made our trip truly rememberable!  And as soon as I got home I went to work on these raw Raspberry Belgium Chocolates.  Filled with a light Raspberry Cream, coated with a dark Belgium Chocolate and topped with either chilli powder, cacao nibs, coconut, goji berries or left to their original dark chocolate shell.  They are incredible soft, melt in your mouth and I believe they would have made our Chocolatier at Planète Chocolat very proud!

Raspberry Belgium Chocolates

Raspberry Cream Filling:

  • 1/3 c soft Date + 3-4 tbls Filtered water
  • 3/4 c Raspberries
  • 1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 c Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 c Cashew, soaked for 2 hours optional
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt

Blend the dates and water until completely incorporated and resemble a paste.  If it is still too stiff add more water 1 tbls at a time.  Remove from the blender and set aside.

Blend the raspberries and lemon juice briefly and pour into a mesh sieve over a glass bowl in order to filter out the seeds.  Use a spatula to move and push the raspberry pulp around in order to separate the juice from the seeds.  The raspberry juice should yield 1/2 c of juice.

Blend all the ingredients until completely smooth.  Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let set in the freezer for 20 min or until solid but not frozen, or leave overnight in the fridge.

To shape into balls, use a 1/2 tbls size measuring and scoop out the cream onto a wax paper surface.  Roll into balls using the palm of your hands.  The Raspberry Cream is a very soft cream so it starts to get too soft, then return to the freezer for 10 minutes or until solid.  Once all the balls are rolled, return to the fridge until just before they are ready to dip into the Belgium Chocolate.

Belgium Chocolate:

  • 1/3 c Cacao Butter
  • 1/3 c Cacao Powder
  • 3 tbls Agave Nectar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Powder
  • Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
  • Pinch of Chili Powder

Bring 2 cups of water to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Place the cacao butter in a medium size glass bowl and place the bowl over the top of the saucepan.  Stir with a wooden spoon until the cacao butter is completely melted.  Stir in the agave, vanilla, salt and chili powder.  Turn off the stove and while continuing to stir, shift in the cacao powder.

To dip each ball in the chocolate, place a toothpick in each of  the Raspberry Cream ball.  Dip it in the melted chocolate and continue to turn the ball until all the excess chocolate drips off.  Holding the chocolate covered ball upright, slide just the tip of a fork off under the ball, very carefully slide the ball onto a non-stick sheet. Repeat until all the balls are covered.

If you like to add a little extra to the Raspberry Belgium Chocolate top with either chilli powder, cacao nibs, coconut or goji berries.  Place back in refrigerator to set the chocolate.

Makes 20 Raspberry Belgium Chocolates

Cinnamon Blueberry Törtchen

Last week my friend Ai was visiting, and for the weekend we decided to travel to the lovely city of Bremen.  We spent the day walking around the old town square, visiting the churches and discovered Schnoorviertel.  This is the oldest quarter of the city filled with tiny cottages dating back to the 15th century.  We stopped for iced tea’s in the most inviting tea house and got carried away with smelling every flavor they had on display and I couldn’t help myself from purchased the most wonderful smelling Chai Tea.  In the evening Bremen Music Festival started, so the town hall, churches, music hall and surrounding building in the square were lit up with spotlights with the church bells ringing! It was truly a memorizing moment!  And thanks to this photo provided by Nikolai Wolff you can experience what it was like!  Click on the photo to see the full screen shot.

While walking around Bremen and Hamburg, the one thing that Ai kept commenting on was how she loved the German bakeries.  Each bakery had their own assortment of cinnamon, buttery pastries overflowing with custard or fruit jelly fillings.  So on her last night we made a raw version based on her favorite pastry, these Cinnamon Blueberry Törtchen (“small tarts” in German).  I packed up a few for her to take on her flight home and the rest I have enjoying with a warm cup of my new Chai Tea!

Cinnamon Blueberry Törtchen

Cinnamon Pastry:

  • 1/2 c Dates
  • 1/2 c Almond Meal
  • 2 tbls Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tbls Filtered Water
  • Pinch of Celtic Salt

First process the dates in the food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Add a tbls of water if the mixture is too dry.  Using a tbls measuring spoon, spoon in 1 tbls of Cinnamon Pastry into each hole of a small cupcake tray.  Mold with your fingers into small tart shapes.

Blueberry Jelly:

  • 1/2 c Blueberries or any other fruit
  • 13 Blueberries for topping
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbls Flax Meal
  • 1 tsp Agave Nectar

Blend all the ingredients until smooth.  Spoon the jelly into each tart and top with an additional blueberry.

Makes 13 Tartlets