Chocolate & Blueberry Spelt Muffins + Electrolux Ideas Lab

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I am very excited to be part of Electrolux Ideas Lab. They have a new project where they are looking for revolutionary ideas that inspire people around the world to enjoy tastier, healthier and more sustainable home cooking in the future. And they are offering a pretty good incentive if your idea wins. Keep reading to find out more.

They asked me why home cooked meals are important to me. My answer is very simple. Basic cooking is such an essential skill in life. From then on, you can experiment as you wish. When you cook your meals yourself, you know what you are putting into your body. It is better for your wallet and most often healthier for you too.

And healthy home cooked meals don’t have to be complicated or take long to cook. The only thing it takes is some planning. What I find easiest is to prepare a menu for the week, leaving 2 days free for impromptu dinners, going out with friends or to do clean-up the fridge/freezer meals. Proper planning will not only save you time spent going to the stores too often, but it will also minimize waste and in the end save you money. Just make sure to check your pantry/fridge/freezer while making your grocery list.

Another way to ensure that I always have healthy ingredients/food at home is having a well-stocked freezer. My freezer is not very big but I use it to the fullest. I have one compartment full of frozen fruit for smoothies, quick compotes to add to porridge or for baking. Another compartment filled with veggies, like spinach cubes which are great for smoothies, soups or pasta sauces. And the last compartment I have is for leftover food or anything that I cooked extra to eat on very busy days.

Most food will keep for months in the freezer, if you have packed them well. If you freeze fruits or veggies, make sure that they are dry (or pat them dry). Use freezer bags to pack them and make sure to let all the air out of the bag. Label them with the dates you froze them. Another thing that helps prevent waste (and this also applies to your fridge/pantry) is using the FIFO method. It is something I learned in school and simply means First In, First Out. So it basically means to store your food in a way that you use the oldest product that you bought first. It is the same way supermarkets organize their products on the shelves. If you’ve ever checked the milk isle for example, you will find the milk cartons in the front are the ones that expire the soonest (oldest). And the ones in the back will have a later expiration date.

Here are some ideas:

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When you make a smoothie, you can also make a larger batch and freeze some of it into popsicle molds to have as a healthy snack. The picture above is a smoothie I made with frozen mango, Greek yogurt, a bit of honey and a pinch of turmeric. I topped it with frozen blueberries, fresh figs slices and popped quinoa. The picture below shows the popsicles I made with the leftover smoothie.

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For the carrot & butternut squash soup below, I used frozen butternut squash and fresh carrots. Since both veggies already have great consistency, there is no need to add any cream to the soup. I bought the carrots with the tops and instead of discarding them; I used the tops to make a pesto to add it as a topping to the soup. For the pesto, I used one bunch of carrot tops, half a bunch of basil, about ¼ of a bunch of chives, 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, a pinch of garlic powder, a pinch of celery salt, a few drops of lime juice, extra virgin olive oil (just enough so you can blend it) and salt to taste.

Besides a good spoonful of this pesto, I also topped the soup with roasted pumpkin seeds and a few slices of Parmesan. You can freeze the leftover pesto in small portions for another meal. Besides adding it to any pasta, you can use the pesto as part of the dressing for a quinoa caprese salad. Or add it to avocado toast for a quick breakfast.

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Muffins also freeze pretty well and are great to take on the go or for packed lunches.

And here is where you come in. Do you have a revolutionary idea? A smartphone app, a life hack, a food sharing program or a complete business idea? Anything that will inspire or help others to enjoy more sustainable and healthy home cooked meals? Electrolux will award the winning idea with a €10,000 cash prize and a week in Stockholm filled great culinary experiences. And you will also be able to meet mentors who can help you further develop your idea. A pretty good incentive if you ask me! You can submit your idea via www.electroluxideaslab.com . Happy thinking!

Going back to the muffins, they don’t have to be on the guilty side. I made these chocolate-blueberry muffins with a mixture of spelt and all-purpose flour. They are sweetened with apple sauce and honey, and they only have 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per batch. The recipe is as follows:

Chocolate & Blueberry Spelt Muffins

This recipe makes 8 small muffins.

Ingredients:

¾ cup of spelt flour

½ cup of all-purpose flour

¼ cup of honey

1/3 cup of unsweetened apple sauce

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of salt

½ cup of milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 teaspoons of baking powder

Zest of 2 mandarins

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cacao powder

2 eggs

1 ½ cups of frozen blueberries

Extras:

8 muffin liners

2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil for greasing the muffin liners

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

In a large bowl whisk the flours, salt, baking powder, mandarin zest and cacao powder until well combined.

In another bowl, add the eggs, honey, apple sauce, olive oil, milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until everything is combined.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until everything is combined (don’t over mix). Finally add the frozen blueberries and fold them in.

Line the muffin pan with the muffin liners. Brush the liners with melted coconut oil. Fill the muffin liners, leaving only 1cm of space (these muffins rise a bit, but not too much). Bake them for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let them cool down completely before eating (it’s easier to remove the liners then). Once they are cold, you can place them in freezer bags (make sure to remove all the air). They will keep for about 2 months. You can let them thaw at room temperature.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and my Snapchat: cravingsinams.

Black Rice, Bimi & Pineapple Stir Fry

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I had been eating this stir fry for two days in a row. I made two large batches to eat throughout the day. It is so easy to make and black rice is so healthy. I am trying to make simpler recipes at the moment since we are busy with the renovations of the new apartment and we need to start packing. We need to leave our current rental apartment at the end of the month and now time is ticking. So easy meals like this one, which I can just reheat in the microwave are a life saver.

This recipe serves 2 -3 people

Ingredients:

¾ cup of black rice

4 cups of vegetable stock (hot)

½ of a pineapple, cored and chopped into pieces

2 sticks of lemongrass, (white part only) finely chopped

1 ½ tablespoons of minced ginger

2 small bird’s eye chili, finely chopped

1/3 cup of cashew nuts, chopped

200grs of bimi, chopped

4 tablespoons of oyster sauce

1 teaspoon of fish sauce

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

 

Start by rinsing the black rice under cold water. Then place it in a medium saucepan with the vegetable stock and let it cook covered for about 45 minutes over medium-low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and the rice is cooked. Then turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 10 minutes.

Place the sesame oil and vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the lemongrass, chili and ginger. Cook for a minute and then add the bimi, pineapple and cashew nuts. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the bimi is cooked. Then add the oyster sauce, fish sauce and black rice. Stir fry it for a couple of minutes. Then adjust the seasoning to your liking. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow me on Snapchat: cravingsinams.

Harissa & Turmeric Roasted Aubergine with Cashew & Sumac Crumbs

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It’s been a while since I’ve cooked with harissa so I decided to use it as the base for these roasted aubergines. For extra flavor, I added turmeric, dried oregano and celery salt. For some crunch, I made some sumac flavored crumbs with cashews and bread. A delicious and very healthy vegetarian meal!

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

2 small aubergines, sliced lengthwise (about 1.5cm thick)

100grs of harissa

2 teaspoons of turmeric

8 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of dried oregano

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon of celery salt

For the cashew & sumac crumbs:

4 slices of crusty bread, chopped

¾ cup of chopped cashews, unsalted

4 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of sumac

Salt to taste

Pinch of garlic powder

Extras:

6 tablespoons of chopped chives

Edible flowers (optional)

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix the harissa, turmeric, olive oil, dried oregano, apple cider vinegar and celery salt.

Brush both sides of the sliced eggplants with the sauce. Place the sliced aubergine in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes.

While the aubergine is roasting, start making the crumbs. Place the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the chopped bread, cashews, sumac, salt and garlic powder. Cook for a few minutes while stirring until the bread is toasted.

Place the bread and cashew mixture in the food processor and pulse until you get crumbs. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Transfer it to a bowl and set it aside.

Serve the roasted aubergine with some of the crumbs, chopped chives and edible flowers. I like to eat it with white rice. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow me on Snapchat: cravingsinams.

 

Kale, Mango & Spinach Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing

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This is a super easy and healthy salad with Asian flavors. If you want to make the avocado rose and you don’t know how to do it, you can check out my video here. Today I am taking over the Instagram account of Broste Copenhagen, an interior brand. They have beautiful products and I have been using them for a while now. All the tableware above is from them. If you would like to follow along, you can check out their Instagram page.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

1 large mango, julienned

1 avocado, thinly sliced

200grs of baby spinach

100grs of baby kale

1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons of minced ginger

2 teaspoons of red miso paste

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 small bird’s eye chili, finely chopped

Juice of 2 limes

2 teaspoons of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of chopped chives

 

Start by making the dressing. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until everything is combined. I didn’t add any salt because the miso paste is already quite salty.

Place the baby kale, baby spinach and mango in a large bowl. Add the dressing and mix well.

Divide the salad among 2 plates, sprinkle the black sesame seeds and then add the avocado. If you want, also add some edible flowers. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow me on Snapchat: cravingsinams.

Mini Cucumber with Greek Yogurt & Savory Granola

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A super healthy snack since summer is around the corner. It’s super crunchy, fresh and very easy to make. Great to take to a picnic too.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

2 cups of Greek yogurt

8 mini cucumbers, sliced lengthwise

Drizzle of olive oil

Chopped chives

For the savory granola:

½ cup of oatmeal

½ cup of nutritional yeast

¼ cup buckwheat

Pinch of celery salt

1 teaspoon of sumac

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of onion powder

¼ cup of olive oil

 

To make the granola, preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix all of the ingredients for the granola in a bowl and then spread it over the prepared baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring half way through. Then allow it to cool down.

Serve the Greek yogurt in one bowl, drizzle some olive oil and top with a bit of chopped chives. Serve the granola in another bowl. Dip the cucumber slices in the Greek yogurt and then coat them in the granola. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Acai, Hibiscus & Banana Popscicles

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It’s been so nice and warm the last couple of days that I couldn’t help myself and made some popsicles. I actually had one for breakfast this morning. They are super easy to make and quite healthy too. I made a reduction with acai pulp, hibiscus tea and banana. Then I swirled it around with Greek yogurt. A guilt free breakfast that tastes like dessert!

This recipe makes about 7 small popsicles

Ingredients:

½ cup of dried hibiscus flowers

1 cup of boiling water

100gr of frozen acai pulp

8 tablespoons of honey

1 banana, chopped

2 cups of Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

For the chocolate shell:

300grs of dark chocolate, chopped

3 teaspoons of coconut oil

Dried coconut (optional)

 

Place the hibiscus flowers in a small bowl, add the boiling water and let it steep for 5 minutes.

Once the 5 minutes are up, pass the tea through a sieve and discard of the flowers.

Place the hibiscus tea, 6 tablespoons of honey, acai and banana in the blender. Blend until smooth.

Then place the mixture in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let it reduce to a thick syrup while stirring so it doesn’t burn. This will take about 5 minutes. Then transfer it to a bowl to cool down.

Once the acai mixture has cooled down, start making the yogurt part. Whisk the Greek yogurt with the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey and vanilla.

Place a bit of the acai mixture in the popsicle molds, then add some of the Greek yogurt and then some more of the acai mixture. Use a toothpick or tip of a knife, to make the swirls. Insert the sticks and freeze overnight.

If you want to coat them in chocolate, microwave the dark chocolate with the coconut oil in intervals of 30 seconds. Stirring in between until it is completely melted. Dip the popsicles in the chocolate shell and immediately sprinkle some of the dried coconut. You can eat them right away. If you want to keep them in the freezer, wrap them individually in plastic film or a Ziploc bag.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Soya Mince & Lentil Chili Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Avocado Sour Cream

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The other day while browsing through a supermarket, I found a package of frozen soya mince. I have always been very curious about it and this is the first time I saw it at a store here. When I was in University, I remember there was a healthy food shop next to it that would sell lasagna with soya mince and it was so good. If you didn’t go early, you would miss it since it would always sell out. That was pretty much my whole experience with soya mince. So now that I saw it here, I had to test it out. And I am quite happy with the results. So for this taco Tuesday, I made a chili with the soya mince and lentils; and served them on tortillas along with some pico de gallo and avocado sour cream.

This recipe makes 12 small tacos.

Ingredients:

For the chili:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

½ a red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

200grs of frozen soya mince, thawed

1/3 cup of black lentils

1 sweet paprika, finely chopped

Pinch of cumin powder

1 teaspoon of paprika powder

Cayenne to taste

1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of onion powder

Pinch of celery salt

250grs of tomato puree

1 litter of vegetable stock

Salt to taste

For the pico de gallo:

1 ½ red onions, finely chopped

4 tomatoes, cored and finely chopped (no seeds)

1 bunch of coriander, chopped

Chopped chili to taste

Juice of 1 ½ limes

1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil

Salt to taste

For the avocado sour cream:

1 avocado

125grs of sour cream

Juice of ½ a lime

Salt to taste

Extras:

12 small tortillas

 

To make the chili, place the olive oil and onion in a large pan over medium heat. Cook until the onions become translucent. Then add the garlic, soya mince, lentils and spices. Cook for about 1 minute while stirring. Then add the honey, tomato puree and vegetable stock. Stir so everything is mixed. Let it cook for about 20 minutes till most of the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils are cooked through. Taste for salt.

To make the pico de gallo just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

For the avocado sour cream, blend all of the ingredients until smooth.

Warm up the tortillas in a pan. Serve with the chili, pico de gallo and avocado sour cream.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Cucumber “Noodle” & Radish Salad with Miso Salmon

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I love to making oven-roasted miso salmon. This miso sauce adds so much flavor and I love to pair it with a cucumber and radish salad. This time I made the cucumber into noodles by using my mandoline with the julienne attachment. A very easy and flavorsome meal.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

320 grs of Salmon, pin bones removed and sliced into 2 fillets

2 tablespoons of red miso paste

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

¼ cup of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 teaspoons of white sesame seeds

For the cucumber noodles:

3 cucumbers, washed

10 radishes, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds

For the sesame dressing:

¼ of a cup of sesame oil

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, just add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger)

Juice of 1 lime

 

To prepare the cucumber and radish salad. You can use a mandoline or a spiralizer. I used my mandoline with the julienne attachment. I sliced the cucumber into noddles, but I stopped when I got to the seed part (discard the core). For the radishes, I just thinly sliced them.

Place the cucumber noodles in a large sieve with a bowl underneath to catch all of the water. Let it stand like these to loose the moisture until ready to serve.

To make the vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, seal it and shake it. Set aside.

To prepare the salmon, whisk the vinegar, miso, brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger in a bowl until combined.

Put the salmon on a plate and add the miso sauce. Make sure to coat the salmon pieces well in the marinade. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Remove the salmon from the fridge and place it on an oven dish lined with parchment paper. Pour some of the sauce on top and cook for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, turn on the broiler on for about 2 minutes. Check constantly so it doesn’t burn. It should be a bit browned.

Remove the salmon from the oven.

Press on the cucumber noodles to try to get most of the moisture out. Then place the cucumber noodles in a bowl, add the radishes, black sesame seeds and the sesame dressing. Mix well.

Divide the salad among 2 bowls and add the roasted salmon. Sprinkle some white sesame seeds over the salmon. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Golden Beet & Yellow Carrot Soup with Feta & Pistachios

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As far as the weather forecast goes, it seems like temperatures are finally going to rise. And I couldn’t be happier. I’m so tired of feeling cold every time I go outside. So I am very much looking forward to warmer weather and picnics in the park. But till then, a creamy golden soup for this meatless Monday.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the soup:

800grs of golden beet, peeled and chopped into chunks

700grs of yellow carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 leek, finely chopped (white part only)

2 medium shallots, chopped

1 1/2 litters of vegetable stock

100ml of cream

Salt to taste

Toppings:

150grs, crumbled feta or goat cheese

40gr of chopped pistachios, pan roasted

Garden cress

 

Place the olive oil, leek and shallots in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring from time to time. Don’t let it get brown.

Then add the carrots, beets and garlic. Stir for 1 minute and then add the vegetable stock.

Let it cook for 25 minutes until the beets and carrots are cooked through.

Then blend it until smooth. Add the cream and salt to taste.

Divide the soup into 3 bowls and top with some crumbled feta (or goat cheese), pistachios and garden cress. I also added some nasturtium leaves as decoration.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Baked Eggs on Sweet Potato Skins with Avocado

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This was my breakfast yesterday and I got many questions on Instagram on how to make it, so I decided to post the recipe. It’s super easy and very healthy.

Update: Here is how to make the avocado rose:

This recipe makes 4.

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes, I used small ones

4 eggs

1 avocado

1 tablespoon of chopped chives

Sea salt

Chili flakes

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with parmenchent paper. Once the oven is hot, bake the sweet potatoes for 1 hour, or until tender.

Then take them out of the oven (keep the oven on) and slice them in half. Scoop the flesh out, leaving a thin layer attached to the skin so it keeps its shape. You can use the sweet potato flesh for another recipe.

Sprinkle a bit of salt on top of each sweet potato skin. Since I like my yolks still runny, I separated the eggs whites from the egg yolks. I added an egg white to each sweet potato skin and baked them for 20 minutes until the egg white had set. Then I removed them from the oven and added the yolks. Finally baked them for an additional 3 minutes. If you don’t like your egg yolks runny, just add the whole egg at once.

Once the eggs are done, remove the potato skins from the oven. Topped them with thinly sliced avocado and sprinkle with some chopped chives, sea salt and chili flakes.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.