mandag den 10. august 2009

Chocolate mousse for breakfast

Once in a while, you just gotta forget everything about the world, sit back in the sunshine and enjoy some beautiful food. That's what I did yesterday!

I woke up fairly early for a sunday, at 8 o'clock in the morning, woken by the lovely church bells
outside our bedroom window. It's amazing to have such a view in Copenhagen!

After a shower and some cold water with lemon juice, I decided to move outside in our yard with my new book "Coastliners" by Joanne Harris. I just finished the sequel to Chocolat also by her, and it was reeeally good - if you liked Chocolat then definantly read The girl with no shadow.
Such a wonderful sunday morning had to be accompanied by a gorgeous breakfast, and at days like these, I like to eat exactly what I fancy just at that moment. So.... I ate chocolate mousse accompanied by mango/banana/blueberry fruit salad :)

Recipe for guilt-free, soft, glossy and chocolatey chocolate mousse:
1 ripe avocado
5-10 dates (soaked if too hard) depending on your sweet tooth and the avocado ripeness
1 or more tbsp of cocoa powder
A pinch of vanilla
A pinch of sea salt
Water until the desired texture is reached

Blend everything together, adding as much water and dates as you like. I have to admit that I prefer around 10 dates, as I have quite a sweet tooth :-) It can be stored in a box in the fridge until the next day - if there is anything left!
I must say that I adore chocolate! But even so, sometimes it is nice which pure, simple food such as this fruit salad. It is made from 1 banana, 1 mango and a handful of fresh blueberries. Preferably eaten with my fingers in the sunshine, just as I did yesterday!

Enjoy :-)

torsdag den 6. august 2009

My type of foodie and Grandmothers rye bread

It is not hard to explain how I became a foodie, living in a family that loves to cook and eat. There is however, many different ways of being a foodie.
Some foodies never cook themselves, but enjoys eating out, and experiencing the world of food entirely from an eating point of view. Other foodies cook, but use artificial ingredients to make their food taste the best they can imagine.
The first kind, is someone I will never be, since my love of cooking almost (but not quite, emphasised by the "When Harry met Sally" kind of noices I sometimes tend to make, when taking the first bite of a meal) exceeds my love of eating. This, and my current student-budget has probably scarred me for life, not wanting to spend a lot of money eating a piece of salmon on a restaurant, paying twice (thrice) the price as it would cost me to cook it myself, and often being worse than what I can make in my own kitchen. I enjoy the occasional night out, since the atmosphere can be wonderful, but I seldom do it for the sake of the meal itself - not counting Michelin restaurants in Copenhagen!
The second kind is someone whom I will DEFINENTLY never be, as I cannot imagine anything with artificial ingredients tasting better than the real (properly prepared) deal! I believe that the reason a lot of people seek to use artificials, is that they are missing a basic understanding of food. It takes a lot of time to learn how to mix spices, using all five tastes in a meal to make it complete and satisfying, discover a genious use of new vegetables, and in general how to match different foods in order to end up with the perfect meal. Not everything I cook can be labelled as "the perfect meal". A lot of my dishes are simply meals, and sometimes I cook a meal which tastes absolutely horrifying, because I neglected the general rules, and tried making something a lot more complicated than good was. Simple is almost always perfect, when using prime quality produce!

I am the type of foodie who loves the entire process of making a meal. Looking up recipes, making adjustments of my own, going to the farmers market, greengrocer's, butcher or supermarket, smell the different vegetables and fruits, pick the best ones there, change the recipe in favour of the gorgeous blueberries I find in a fruit stall, arrange everything beautifully at home using bowls and plates to store my fruit and vegetables on in full display, and then finally begin the cooking. Most days I haven't got the luxury of doing all of this, due to limited time during the week, but on saturdays and sundays, as well as days where I can take the afternoon off, this is an amazing way of preparing a meal. Since I am a student and on a limited money and time budget, I tend to spend saturday on planning seven different meals, not deciding on which day to cook what, but simply having an idea of what should be bought for the following week. Then I buy the basics and some fruit and vegetables, stocking up on fresh produce during the week as well. I almost never end up making the exact seven meals that I had planned, as I am a somewhat spontanious cook, and change my mind several times a day on what to cook for dinner, but it is a way for me to control my spending.

An example of the beauties of cooking from scratch is my grandmother. She has always been making fresh Danish rye bread every week, and her bread is the best I can possible imagine. My mother has taken up this routine as well, and when I eat rye bread it is almost always homemade from organic flours and wonderful seeds. My boyfriend however, eats a lot of rye bread every day, and since he isn't really into cooking, baking or any other thing connected to food, I tend to buy his bread, and only bake it fresh when I want to eat it myself. It is such a reward, having waited and cared for a bread for several days, and then eating this marvelous result with fresh tomatoes and chives.

Grandmothers rye bread:
Sourdough (to be prepared two - three days in advance):
2½ dl whole rye flour
1½ dl buttermilk
½ tsp salt
Stir together ingredients, cover with plastic film and leave on the kitchen counter for two-three days. Watch out for mold!

1½ dl sourdough
13 dl water
650 g broken rye grains
650 g wheat flour
7 tsp salt
Mix all of the ingredients, cover with a kitchen towel and leave on the countertop 24 hrs. After 24 hrs, add the following ingredients:
1 light ale (33 cl)
3/4 bottle of water (put water in the beer bottle)
25 g fresh yeast stirred into the water
875 g rye flour
8 tbsp flax seeds
8 tbsp sunflower seeds

Mix everything nicely, and transfer to two 3 L rectangular baking tins (if it isn't non-stick tins, then butter them before putting in the dough). Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise, until the dough reaches the top of the tins. Brush the dough with water lightly and bake at 200 degrees for 1½ hrs. When done, wait until the breads have cooled almost entirely to remove them from the baking tins. Wrap in towels and put in plastic bags to cool completely. Do not cut into it, until it is completely cool!!! Enjoy :-)

The rest of the sourdough can be stored in the fridge, until you need it again. If you take out 1½ dl of the pre-dough and add to the remaining sourdough every time you bake this bread, you can keep a sourdough running for years!

Do you bake your own bread? And have you ever tried rye bread?

Tomorrow will be some more on healthy eating, as well as my chocolate mousse recipe made from avocado.

Have a wonderful thursday!


onsdag den 5. august 2009

Cooking and eating: My philosophy

Hi everyone!

I thought that I wanted to talk a bit about my food philospohy. I think that it can be summed up to: Food has to be fun, whole, beautiful, loved and enjoyed!

I am soooo tired of commercials advertising ready-made, fast, zero-nutrition food, because it makes people forget how the real deal should taste - and more importantly, how to cook the real deal! The article in NY Times "Out of the kitchen, onto the couch" by Michael Pollan (read itHERE) was the final nudge I needed to realize how important it is, that the few of us who actually cook everything from scratch, make sure to shout it out loud to the public, and make them understand how easy, delicious and rewarding it is. How many young people today knows how to make their own mayonnaise?

Easy mayonnaise:
2 egg yolks
1 tsp of dijon mustard
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon or any other vinegar)
a bit of salt and pepper
Oil (cold-pressed and organic preferably)

Whisk it until the yolks are turning white, then slowly add oil (rapeseed, olive or whichever you like) to the mixture while whisking. When the mixture is shiny and thick-looking, you can add oil at a faster pace. Add about 2 dl of oil. If it gets too thick, add a bit of water. Make sure that everything is room temperature when starting, and you can't go wrong. Store in glass container in the fridge for about 5 days tops. You can add garlic, spices, herbs, chili or whichever you like to the mayo. Mix it up with some organic yoghurt naturel og soya yoghurt for a nice dressing/dip. Play with it! It's easy-peasy and I can whip up a batch in 5 minutes, including putting things in the dishwasher afterwards - you'll learn very fast!
Mayonnaise with hard-boiled eggs serve a nice egg-salad without any E-numbers or other nasty things.

Enough talking about mayonnaise, even though it is an amazing type of food when home-made and made from organic, beautiful and honest ingredients - and a great way to get those unsaturated fats!

Through the years I have read a LOT about different ways to eat, on my way to figuring out what is good for me to eat. I've come to the conclusion, that while I'm glad to know which foods my body can't tolerate that well, and how I should eat to feel my absolute best, there is NO WAY that I'm going to jeopardise amazing flavours and intense pleasure and indulgence, to eat completely clean. This all comes down to me thinking that life should be somewhat spontanious and filled with extravagant experiences, some of these which I gain through cooking and eating. Some days and even weeks I eat what I like to call "clean". To me, this is food with no dairy, no sugar and a very small amount of gluten (some pasta will do, but no bread). If I eat like this, I feel my best physically - but what about mentally? As you will see on this blog, I have a number of recipes honouring this way of eating clean (a chocolate mousse made from avocado, real cacao powder and dates is one example), which is the ones I indulge in most of the time. But I also bake cookies, cakes, extravagant layer cakes with mousses and muffins, I bake amazing organic spelt bread, which I eat with ice-cold organic butter and I make Pasta Milanese with cream - and enjoy it all the way!!! When I make the choice to eat something that might make me feel less good, I choose to enjoy it, to really appreciate it, and simply be a real bonvivant! I think that you should do the same. I will address the issue of healthy eating some more throughout my blogging, but I can tell you now, that I believe the biggest reason for our populations all over the world growing bigger by the minute, is that people have forgotten what real food is...

I'll leave you with a recipe for the most gorgeous almond spread to use on crackers, in sandwiches, on chicken - you name it! On this picture is it accompanied by some semi-soft rosemary crackers, recipe following below. The crackers can be hard, depending on how thick you roll out the dough.
Salty almond spread:
3 dl almonds
2 tbsp organic, cold-pressed avocado oil (can
be subbed for oliveoil or rapeseed oil)
2 tbsp organic, cold-pressed olive oil
1 tsp maldon salt (I like mine rather salty, so taste-test it underway)
Fresh thyme or other herbs - basil is good (optional)
Garlic is good in it as well, but it is just as yummy (and easier to serve) without it.

Grind almonds, oil and salt in a food processor for around 4-5 minutes until you have a spreadable mass. It can take longer, depending on your appliances. Add herbs and run for around one minute until everything is incorporated. Eat and enjoy :-) Keeps a couple of days in the fridge.
Semi-soft rosemary crackers:
3,75 dl organic wheat flour
2 organic eggs
½ tsp maldon salt (any salt will do, but I like this one, as it does not only contain NaCl but also other minerals )
A few tbsp of cold water
1 tbsp cold-pressed, organic olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (I added some thyme in the batch you see above, which was very good)

Heat up the oven to 175 degree celcius (350 degree fahrenheit). Mix dry ingredients, add eggs and oil and gather the dough quickly with a spoon. Add water if needed for the dough to stick together. Roll out as thin as you like on a baking sheet, and score the dough into desired cracker-size bits. Bake at 175 degrees for approx. 10 minutes, or as long as needed to reach the cripsness you would like. If you make them very thin, then make sure to keep an eye on them, as they might be finished in less than 10 minutes.


Who is Julie?

Hi :-)

Just thought that I wanted to do a little introduction to myself and the world of Julie.

As mentioned I am 22 years old and from Denmark, living in the capital Copenhagen. I live with my boyfriend through the last 4 years, who luckily eats (almost) anything put in front of him! Although I am what you would call a fulltime student, currently doing my Master Thesis in biotechnology, I also work three jobs to fullfill some of my passions other than food, adding up to around 50 hours a week on good weeks, 80 hours when I'm running high.

I am on a journey to follow my passions and fill up my life with beautiful thoughts, people and occupations. I practice yoga, which I love more than any other exercise, doing it not only for the sake of my physical health, but also to enrich my mental life, and make sure that I am relaxed and satisfied mentally. I also practice the five Tibethans once in a while, making sure that my exercise is decided by spontanious thinking, and doing whatever I feel like at the moment. I run when I feel like it, use my skipping rope when I feel like it, swim when I feel like it, and go for a walk when I feel like it. I bike to and from work/school, 12 km each way, making 24 km a day. I used to do elite sports, on a Danish National Team, but unfortunately I got a shoulder injury which I am still struggling with today, three years after quitting.
If I don't feel like exercising one day, or if I want to take the train for work - then I do it! I'm not to be bothered by a bad consious for not working out, as I trust my body to tell me what I need, and when I need it. As you will be seing from my post on my cooking and eating habits, I eat rather healthy and make sure to listen to my body. It has taken a long time to get to where I am now, being able to respond to myself, and listen to what me and my body has to say, and I am still struggling in some areas of my life, but altogether I believe that a passionate life is all about listening to your insticts. I'm meditating in my search for calmness and quietness, and painting mandalas as part of a creative process. That being said, I'm all for wathing Sex and the City, having dinner on the couch, and simply just vegging out with friends - just not all the time :-)

It is quite hard to describe myself like this, as I find that I am - as anyone else - quite a complex person. I take it that you will just have to get to know me better as we go along!

Have a wonderful day!


What's with the real food??

Hello everyone, and welcome to my blog!

I'm a 22 year old Danish student, with an enormous passion for cooking (and eating) food. What is considered food in todays society however, is a bit different from what I consider as REAL food. On this blog you will find no pre-made, can-last-forever dishes, brought home from the supermarket by people not knowing what is actually in them. You will find whole, delicious and interesting food, cooked with love and passion, without shortcuts or artificial ingredients. That being said, I am also a full-time student, in the middle of doing my Master Thesis and working three jobs, so of course some evenings you will find what you might call a "quick" solution; meaning something like a dish made from bulgur, sauteed mushrooms, onions, garlic and leftover chicken - I hope that you can live with that :-)

My blog will evolve around food, accompanied by little tales of my daily life, my way of eating healthy, different hot topics and discussions, not to forget of course the recipes. I have always been passionate about food. In my family we talk a lot about what we've eaten, how it was made, why it was delicious, and of course the big question: What to eat next? I love going through cookbooks, thinking up the next meal, trying new vegetables and spices and serve my dishes to other people. In my oppinion, food is here to be enjoyed, loved and cherised, and even though I like to make advanced dishes once in a while, I believe that simple can be just as good - or sometimes even better - than advanced. Yesterday, breakfast for me was a gorgeous, big, juicy mango, eaten with my fingers, while sitting in a window sill and enjoying the wonderful view from my appartment into our yard. Dinner was a beautiful, modified Pasta Milanese with whole wheat spaghetti, freshly chopped, homegrown rosemary, sauteed homegrown tomatoes, garlic, organic cream, maldon sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a bit of cabernet sauvignon red wine, accompanied by roasted chicken breast, and enjoyed with my boyfriend and a nice glass of wine. Both meals were equally satisfying!

I've been thinking about starting this blog for a while now, but a lot of things have stopped me. Questions such as "Should I write in Danish or English", wondering if it would take up too much of my time, if I was inspiring enough, and a good enough writer, have all been roaming around in my thoughts for some time, but finally the urge to share my passion for food became large enough to take the plunge. So here you are - my first blog post! This post will be followed by an introduction post talking a bit more about who I am, my food philosophies and what my life is like, as well as a post considering the subject which contributed to me starting this blog: Why people can no longer cook, and the passion for real food is diminishing in our society, just as fast as CO2 levels in the atmosphere are rising.

See you soon!