Category Archives: Desserts

Original Elisen Gingerbread

GingerDSC_8483Northern Europe, knows a large variety of gingerbreads, they originate from the honey breads and pepper cakes, also called Lebkuchen in German. You can choose from the Nordic pepper cake style such as the Swedish ‘Peparkaka’ or the Hamburger Braune Kuchen. A simpler dough is used for Gingerbread houses (Pfefferkuchenhaus). Then there are Pfeffernüsse, the chewy round sugar glazed balls. Around Aachen you can find Printen, bare or chocolate glazed ‘logs’ of rock sugar studded very hard gingerbread. A very old variety is the diamond shaped spicy Magenbrot. Simple Supermarket ‘Lebkuchen’ are chewy floury dough stars and pretzels, also jam filled hearts, and ‘Domino cubes’ covered with dark chocolate. And then there are Elisen Lebkuchen. Continue reading

Raw sweets

TrufDSC_6198.1RAW foodies have a sweet tooth. When looking at some recipe books recently, I noticed salads, appetizers, dips & sauces and snacks, and then… come the desserts. I flipped back, did I miss the entrees? Don’t expect to find a real heavy traditional main dish in RAW recipes, entrees will look like beautiful appetizers and they are likely very filling.
Here are some little truffles, RAW (or quick vegan). They are  less chocolatey, think of the answer to commercial marzipan potatoes and tadaa…the most indulgent way to eat a carrot…
If you care to make this recipe truly live, you will look for unpasteurized RAW almonds, as all domestic (U.S.) almonds require pasteurization and are likely blanched as well. You may find imports from Spain, which need lots of soaking and may have a higher content of bitter almonds in the batch, but they should even be able to sprout. See recipe

Treats from seeds

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Seed bars work for many occasions. Relatively quick to make, they can replace trail mix, pastries and cookies. After eating too much chocolate, it was time for me to  go a step healthier. Raw seedbars often contain chocolate powder or raw chocolate nibs, which have no sugar or dairy added and are not heat processed.
Depending what you have at home, you can make this recipe truly raw, or nut free, you can also replace some ingredients that are heat processed for a vegan treat. The bars will harden in the freezer, and can be stored in the refrigerator, you may also add some time in the food dryer to remove moisture.
Despite the large amount of ingredients, the amount of servings is relatively small, reminding me again how nutrient dense this food is. See recipe

You made truffles from what?

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Valentines’ is chocolate season, with sinful sweets and chocolate gifts for loved ones. All the reason to experiment with your own truffles, before the chocolate craze starts.
As in the earlier mayonnaise post, the emulsifier does not need to be from eggs or cream, the blend does not need to contain loads of dairy or fats.

The filling is instead made from a blend of pecans with sweet potato mash(!), they surprisingly taste very much like traditional hand made truffles which makes me wonder, what companies can blend into chocolates these days… DIY and you can influence ingredients; which sweetener or chocolate you use to make it vegan and/or healthier. See recipe

Too easy to not DIY…

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Chia pudding is the new hype After blogs and cookbooks praised chia as the new superfood, the packaged food industry wanted a share. You may remember chia’s early fame in ‘hair growing’ chia pets and recently as Chia fresca, now the seed’s pudding is offered next to the alternative yogurts in supermarket fridge, and I believe I saw a whooping price of 3$ per portion for a small cup of the submerged seeds. While I understand, yogurt making takes some time and expertise, I wonder what makes Chia pudding so special…
The answer is ‘nothing’, it does not take more than 3 spoonfuls of chia seeds per any liquid cup of choice, even without a blender. Stir, cool and wait… really no reason to buy a plastic jar with stale ingredients, and worth only a couple of pennies… See my recipe for Horchata chia pudding

Mexican milk alternative

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Mexican restaurants and food trucks sell horchata; Asking about this variety of ‘agua fresca’, we learned about the variety of ‘rice milk.’
Horchata originated in Spanish speaking countries, and Latin America has several different traditions for horchata.
The refreshing milky drink is usually ice cooled, tastes of cinnamon and has a tan color unless you use white rice and white sugar. The satisfying milk alternative can easily replace a meal. If you do it yourself, you can influence details such as what sweetener is used, use brown rice and raw nuts. Use more almonds than rice, to achieve a richer, less chalky taste.
While the original recipe includes soaking the ingredients overnight, you can also make a quick horchata in an instant, blended and strained in modern kitchen equipment. Horchata recipe and horchata chia pudding

If life hands you quinces…

MembrDSC_5704Happy New Year! An unexpected gift from our visit over the holidays was a bag of fresh quinces that Sven had kept from his trees in Mecklenburg, Germany. Your first thought may be quince jelly, elsewhere you may think of liquor, but if you are Hispanic, there is only ‘membrillo’, loosely translated as ‘quince bread’ and eaten with cheese. Fortunately, with one load of quinces, you can make both, as the membrillo is efficiently made from the fruit after separating the juice! And both tastes great even without cheese. Continue reading

First Holiday Flavors

SconeDSC_5046It is that Pumpkin time again… Leaves are red and yellow, temperatures just shy of freezing point and hot soups are making a comeback. Warm hugs of sugar and pumpkin spices and a warm kitchen are so comforting…  ah, pumpkin scones. When I saw this gluten free recipe I had to veganize it even though I had only sweet potatoes instead of pumpkins. I did not have all of the alternative flours either, if you have a grain container it helps to make quick brown rice or millet flour for part of the recipe. Flavorful, highly recommended and going fast. See recipe.

Lazy Sunday breakfasts

GlutenfreeDSC_4681.1Gluten free pancake mixes? This week I stumbled over a recipe that promised good looking pancakes, even without regular flour. While I usually don’t have a Gluten Free regimen at home, I was able custom make my flour blend with a grain mill blender cup. This is really great, as you don’t have to buy multiple bags of expensive and hard to get specialty flour that also may spoil in an instant. If you have a small household, it also helps you to use up f.e. whole brown rice, which won’t last long, plus you have freshly ground flour. This recipe produces nturally dark pancakes with a very yummy crispy rim, which I attribute to the brown rice in it. Prepare the flour blend in batches, which are then quickly to use in the morning. See for recipe

The sweet life

SugDSC_0000If sugar is bad for us, which sweetener is wiser to use?
Is Agave Syrup better than Maple Syrup or maybe Xylitol? Is zero calorie better than honey? Diet sodas are often sweetened with Aspartame, is that good?
Many products claim to be better than sugar for different reasons, if you need sugar specific properties, it depends what you want to do with it, if you want to bake, or just want to sweeten your coffee. And of course it also depends what your diet is like.

In doubt use a mashed banana to make ice cream and cold desserts, even pancakes and baked banana bread, it is a superior sweetener without the need of other sweeteners.
Here is an Overview that compares recommendations for different diets. I have tested sweeteners for some time and will update on a regular basis. 

Staying fresh

AquaDSC_3873In Mexican restaurants we have Aguas Frescas. The combination of fruits, cereals, flowers, or seeds is blended with sugar and water to make a light non-alcoholic beverage and are popular in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States especially during hot weather.
Aquas Frescas are different from smoothies, as they are fresh, light and based on water, lime and lots of fruit. Another Agua fresca I was writing about is Chia Fresca, which contains besides lime also Chia seeds. Especially melon is refreshing other types are guava, mango and horchata (a rice milk.) If you never know how to manage a whole watermelon in a small household, here is the solution. See recipe

A twist for a dessert

EmpanadDSC_3688You can make these little zapatitos, if you have some empanada dough left. They are a simple blend, and closed like dumplings, as the filling is a bit more wet. Great to use up some overripe, even frozen bananas. See recipe

Breakfast alternatives

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My posts become sparce when we are busy… and food goes fast when you are sharing with visitors. We like the blueberry bread from our farmer’s market, but the one we usually buy contains eggs and white flour. Looking for alternatives, we found a sweet version of sprouted Manna bread, nice for a change. However I also like this nut and pumpkin bread in my veganized recipe: See recipe. 

Wet punky-pie

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Looks can be so deceiving. Here is my warning: ‘Do not fake your food photography or retouch the soul out of it.’ Today I tried a recipe, that looked like little brownie squares. Although I changed some ingredients, I was not prepared that this was not a regular cake, it did not rise and left the oven merely behaving like a hot pudding. However, after cooling for several hours, it turned into a really nice pumpkin pie, just what I wanted, except I nervously had eaten many pieces along the way checking the ‘status’. Continue reading

The origins of paisley

MangoDSC_3239.1Mango trees still fruit when they are 300 years old. Then, a mango tree must be still a good family investment, provided you live in the right climate. The South Asian native fertility symbol is used for wedding decoration, art and traditional symbolic; Mango motifs and paisleys graced traditional Indian and Iranian embroidery styles. The first mangoes brought overseas were pickled, to allow transportation of the easy spoiling fruit. Continue reading

Greetings from Guatemala

PlantainDSC_3195Plantains can be a dessert or vegetable. While green plantains are high in starch to be cooked and used like potatoes, the riper fruits with yellow or black peel have developed a nice sweetness, without becoming mushy like dessert bananas do. Often Latin American recipes deep fry plantains, such as the ‘Rellenitos de plantano’; Plantain rolls with a sweet bean filling. However when the plantains are cooked first, mashed and filled and then lightly cooked in a frying pan, they are not as greasy and taste great as dessert or snack. See recipe

Warming Valentine hugs

CocoaDSC_3131.1Hot Chocolate is a warm hug. Cocoa or Cacao? Most likely you grew up with Nesquick or Swiss Miss – Sugary, chalky, milk powdery mixes with a faint hint of chocolate. Then as a grown up, maybe in New York, you will discover drinking real chocolate.                                                                                                                                            The word and idea of drinking cacao came from Mexican ancestors. Ancient graves unearthed, bore symbols and vessels identified with cacao consumption.  Continue reading

Bars and Balls

PowerDSC_3128Some time during the 80’s, there were aerobics, and then there was the advent of power bars. I remember the first ‘Muesli Bars’ sold before my time in college. We ate several ones during breaks, convinced they were healthy and got quite addicted. Then we noticed weight gain as the contents were just a tad nicer as in regular candies. Today, there are so many different bars; bars for athletes, for meal replacement and weight loss programs and Vitamins, even once a ‘Snooze bar’. Most of the commercial ones taste stale, rancid or sticky. But when you find out how easy you can make them fresh, there is really no reason to put up with ‘saw dust and sugar’. The ones I made, were handy when we skipped breakfast today before the snow storm and are a great snack during meetings. Just be aware that it is very concentrated food, a small bite would be more than double the size of nuts and fruits to eat. See recipe

Inflammation remedy

Recently I was researching anti inflammatory foods. Sugar, alcohol, red meat and dairy apparently increase inflammation. So do very refined white wheat products. But what food products are anti-inflammatory? Some remedies are turmeric (ginger) and aloe gel. You may also try cinnamon. Continue reading

How to heat the house

Heat the kitchen by baking buns! I am still working through a couple of recipes and this one (besides that I already ate a good breakfast) has caught my eye. What a great excuse and great lunch as well. This fat free veg’n ‘Happy Herbivore’ recipe was not easy for me, as the recipe has only lax indications of baking pan dimensions, dough thickness, rectangle size and from which side it should be rolled up, not mentioning yeast dough rising times either, duh. Just be creative. No matter which size, these little guys are quite forgiving. I got twelve minis instead of 6 big ones and used rum-raisins for the filling.
One sure resolution for the New Year is to make better pictures. Having some patience, using the tripod and also increase the depth of field. It already looks better on first attempt…Recipe