Roasted hazelnut chocolate bites

Chocolate hazelnut bites

A few things that are good to know. Don’t skip roasting the hazelnuts. Roasting is where the magic happens. The magic that brings out the flavors of gianduja. Use Medjool dates, if you have a choice, because they are moist and sweet. You can dip the bites in dark chocolate. You can also roll them in coconut, cocoa powder or chopped roasted nuts. They contain no sugar. They are good for you. They are addictive.

Roasted hazelnut chocolate bites

  • 1 cup / 2,5 dl  roasted hazelnuts
  • 1 cup / 2,5 dl (200 gr) pitted dates
  • 2 tbsps cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt
  • 100 gr 70 % dark chocolate, optional
  • 2 tsps freeze dried raspberries, optional
  1. Roast the hazelnuts on a pan over medium heat until they smell delicious. Use your nose. It takes a few minutes.
  2. Rub off  as much as the peel as you can by putting the nuts in a cloth. It’s a bit messy and won’t be perfect. Just rub off what you can.
  3. Transfer the nuts to a food processor with the cocoa powder. Pulse till fine and set a side in a bowl.
  4. Now put the dates in the food processor with coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt, then pulse until it becomes thick and smooth.
  5. Put everything in the bowl and combine well.
  6. Roll into balls and cool in the fridge.
  7. Eat now or dip in melted chocolate sprinkled with freeze dried raspberries.

Yields 25

Kids love them too!

Healthy gianduja bites

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Toasted sesame cabbage salad with miso dressing

Sesame cabbage saladIt’s time for another of my favorite summer salads. A side that goes  well with most grilled meats and poultry. Even though the salad consists of only three ingredients, you can play with the colors. Choose cone cabbage in red or green and choose sesame seeds in white or black. Or both. I always toast sesame seeds on a pan over medium heat until they become fragrant. It only takes a few minutes and it brings out so much flavor.

Cabbage Salad

  • 1 small cone cabbage
  • 1 cup / 2 1/2 dl broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup / 1 1/4 dl sesame seeds
  1. Slice the cabbage
  2. Cut the broccoli florets in small pieces
  3. Toast the sesame seeds
  4. Put everything in a bowl

Miso Dressing

  • 2 tbsps rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsps sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp yellow miso
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of cayenne
  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake well.

Great taste – Yes

Fast – Yes

Easy to make – Yes

Healthy – Yes

Pretty – Yes

Try it out – Yes

 

 

 

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Chinese five-spice chicken & orange salad

Every diner in California serves a version of Chinese chicken salad. Here is mine. You can make it in less than 30 minutes, which makes it a good healthy choice for weekdays. It is fresh and flavorful. The original inspiration is found in this book, I have tweaked the recipe and added some ingredients.

  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1.5 tsps five spice powder
  • 1 pound chicken breast cut into chunks
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 large romaine or iceberg lettuce
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup / 60 ml almonds
  • 2 tbsps black sesame seeds
  1. Heat the oil and the five-spice over medium heat and add the chicken chunks.
  2. Season with salt & pepper. Stir occasionally and cook until done. About 5 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. Set aside, but leave the skillet.
  3. Meanwhile cut the lettuce, bell peper and spring onion. Peel and grate the carrots. Place it all in a large bowl.
  4. Roast the almonds for a few minutes in the unwashed skillet from the chicken. This will give the almonds some spice.
  5. Cut the oranges into segments and squeeze the rest of the juice over the salad.
  6. Combine everything and dress with mustard dressing.

Mustard dressing

  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tsbps rice vinegar
  • 2 tsps dijon mustard
  • Sweeten with 1/2 tsp honey or to taste
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Whisk the ingredients together.
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Watermelon strawberry popsicles or smoothies

This is a cooling repost from a hot day in Los Angeles not too long ago:

If you have been looking for a sweet, healthy, refreshing treat in the heat – well look no further. These watermelon strawberry popsicles must be your answer. If you need instant gratification, because the temperatures are way up there (read 100sF/40sC) or you are in the mood, well then you don’t even have to freeze them. It is an equally amazing smoothie.

  • 1/2 small watermelon
  • 8 0z / 150 gr  frozen strawberries
  • 12 0z / 350 ml water
  • 2 tbsps acacia honey
  • Wooden sticks
  • Ice cream molds or small paper cups
  1. Cut the watermelon into chunks and blend with the water until smooth.
  2. Strain the watermelon juice to get rid of the seeds and pour back into the blender. Skip this step, if using a seedless watermelon.
  3. Add the frozen straberries and agave nectar and blend until smooth.
  4. Adjust sweetness to your taste and enjoy over ice or pour the strawberry watermelon juice into ice cream molds and freeze.
  5. Set your timer for about 30-45 min, then add the wooden sticks to the popsicles and freeze for another 4 hrs or overnight.

Yields 5 cups / 1.25 liter

Suggestions

If you don’t have ice cream molds, be creative and use small glasses or other little containers. I used 3 oz bath cups.

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Phyllo pie with salmon and broccoli

Phyllo pie

This was a quick shot, but I want to share it with you anyway, because the pie is so cool  looking and simple to make. The next time I make phyllo pie, I may take a better picture.

So here is how I put the phyllo dough from the freezer to good use.

  • 6 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
  • 2 boneless salmon fillets, skin off
  • 2 cups / 5 dl of broccoli florets
  • 4 large eggs
  • Some melted butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 C/190 F.
  2. Use a spring form cake pan, so you can easily remove the pie when done.
  3. Brush the spring form with melted butter and layer with phyllo dough, brushing each sheet with a thin layer of melted butter.
  4. Steam the broccoli florets a few minutes, then strain well.
  5. Cut the salmon fillets into big chunks.
  6. Place salmon and broccoli in the pie and simply crack the eggs on top.
  7. Season with salt & pepper.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the eggs are done.

This is not a spicy pie, so serve with chive cream and a good dash of tabasco sauce.

Chive cream

  • Sour cream with finely chopped chives seasoned with lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, salt and pepper.

 

You may also like these sweet recipes with phyllo dough.

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Black fried rice

Black fried rice

Shopping for five takes time. Today I decided I would rather spend my time with a good book and a cup of tea in my hands than go grocery shopping in the rain. So tonight’s meal consists of vegetables from the fridge and beautiful, black rice from the back of the cupboard.

Cooking black rice takes about an hour, but once it simmers on the stove, you can return to your book. See instructions on the back of the package or cut time by using white rice, frozen rice or store bought rice. Usually when making fried rice, the rice should be cold, so it doesn’t get mushy when heated. But I served the warm rice in one bowl and the topping in another.

Simply chop the vegetables you have on hand and cook them quickly over high heat in sesame oil or regular oil. Season with soy sauce and then scramble in an egg or two.

Serve with chopped, salted peanuts and avocado chunks.

Suggested vegetables for fried rice:

  • Carrots
  • Bell peppers
  • Corn
  • Green peas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Spring onion
  • And many more veggies cut or sliced

 

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Rhubarb vanilla drink

Rhubarb vanilla drink

If you don’t know what to do with rhubarbs? Or if you have already had your share of rhubarb pies and crumbles this season, well how about turning the red stalks into an amazing and cooling drink?

Rhubarb Vanilla Syrup

  • 1 lb 2 oz / 500 gr rhubarb stalks
  • 1 quart / 1 liter water
  • 6 3/4 oz /2 dl cane sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  1. Wash the stalks and chop the rhubarbs into small bites.
  2. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise into two halves and scrape out the seeds.
  3. Add everything to a pot: water, rhubarbs, cane sugar, vanilla seeds and the two halves of vanilla pod.
  4. Bring to a simmer and let the syrup simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and let cool for about an hour before straining.
  6. Bottle and store in the fridge for up to one month or use right away.
  7. You may want to thin the syrup a bit with water before you enjoy it ice cold.

Tempting suggestions

Add a splash of rhubarb vanilla syrup to club soda, sparkling wine or even Champagne for a refreshing summer drink…

 

 

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Carrot muffins with applesauce

Apple carrot muffinsThese muffins don’t look like anything special, but honestly one is not enough. Each moist bite is bursting with spices and subtle sweetness. Really, really good – and good for you – any time of day. Definitely a keeper!

  • 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup / 110 gr softened butter
  • ½ cup / 1,25 ml acacia honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup/ 250 ml unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 190 C.
  2. Put all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk them together.
  3. In a large bowl mix the butter, honey, egg and vanilla together and beat until well combined.
  4. Fold in the applesauce and carrots using a spatula.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the muffin tops are golden brown.

Yields 12

 

 

 

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Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

  Nitrogen ice cream          Salty caramel

Liquid nitrogen ice cream has become more mainstream and Copenhagen now has its own liquid nitrogen ice cream shop called Istid, which translates into Ice Age. Apparently using liquid nitrogen is a much older invention than you would think. Supposedly the first nitrogen ice cream was made as early as 1901 by Agnes B. Marshall. Go figure! The term molecular gastronomy was first introduced by two scientists in the late 1980s when experimental cooking first began a more scientific approach to cooking on a wider scale. The molecular gastronomy movement has had and still has a profound impact on modern cooking. Learn more here – or just enjoy the stunning imagery of experimental cuisine. Amazing, right?! The past couple of years more liquid nitrogen ice cream shops have opened and I am sure more will follow, because:

  • The taste is divine
  • The texture is the creamiest and smoothest, you’ ll ever have
  • It doesn’t come any fresher than that
  • Seeing your ice cream being made right in front of you in a cloud of fog is simply cool
  • Value for money most definitely, which is what we consumers want

So if you are in the Copenhagen area, I recommend a visit to Istid. I also hear Ice Cream Lab in Los Angeles is pretty awesome and it is definitely on my list of must-try-places for my next visit!

 

 

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It’s all about matcha

 

Matcha

Matcha

Matcha is high quality powdered green tea with a bright green color. The tea plant is covered before picking to accentuate the beautiful color. One of the many health benefits of matcha is the high content of antioxidants. Matcha is also rich in Vitamin A, C and potassium. Ingesting the entire tea leaf thus receiving 100 % of the nutrients of the leaf is one of the reasons matcha is considered such a miracle elixir and simply superior superfood.

I just came back from Japan where I enjoyed a daily matcha latte. Highly addictive. I also splurged on matcha treats. They all have the very unique, hard to describe, complex, slightly vegetative, umami taste with a subtle sweetness.

Matcha has been an important part of Japanese culture for decades and is the tea used for the traditional tea ceremony. I think matcha has been underrated in the Western world, but things are changing and I notice matcha and recipes with matcha appearing in the trendsetting food magazines, eateries and coffee shops. When I googled “matcha is the new black” this recent article  in TimeOut New York appeared confirming that matcha is indeed on the rise and popping up on restaurant menus all over – also in Copenhagen.

On a final note – Japan exceeded all my high expectations. The people are friendly and respectful. The food is incredible and even fast food is served in ceramic bowls. It’s all about aesthetics and the Japanese certainly seem to understand the psychology of enhancing the joy of a meal. Check out the research by Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at Oxford University, for more on how our environment affects the way we experience food and drink. Here is a brief teaser with some of his findings. By the way, did you know that Japanese people do not eat in the street? Food is supposed to be enjoyed sitting down – not in a rush from point A to B. A code of conduct I plan to stick to.

I could go on and on about amazing Japan, but it’s time for a cup of matcha!

 

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