CUCUMBER SALAD WITH SESAME DRESSING

Video Recipes

This is a very nice variation of Asian cucumber-sesame salad, but the dressing is supplemented with few additional ingredients. To be more specific I am using combination of oils in the right proportion to reach balanced OMEGA-3/OMEGA-6 ratio for the dressing.

COURSE: Lunch, Side Dish

CUISINE: Plant-based, Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free

PREP TIME: 10 min

COOKING TIME: 15 min

CALORIES for dressing/per 1 tbsp: 60 calories


INGREDIENTS FOR DRESSING

Flaxseed oil – 1 tbsp

Sesame oil – 4 tbsp

Rice vinegar – 2 tbsp

Soy sauce – 2 tbsp

Garlic -1/2 cloves, chopped

Honey or brown sugar – 1/2 tbsp

Ginger juice – 1 tsp

Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp, toasted

INGREDIENTS FOR SALAD

Cucumber – fresh, sliced

Onion – cut into thin slices


COOKING PROCESS:

  1. Slice fresh cucumbers and onions.
  2. Prepare the dressing
  3. Drizzle dressing over sliced vegetables and mix it at least 10 min before serving.

Enjoy this light salad as appetizer before your main dish or serve it as a side dish.

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ANTIOXIDANTS

Nutrition

Did you know that the colours of fruits and vegetables are the result of certain antioxidants, phytonutrients and nutrients they contain?

Consumption of fruits and vegetables varieties helps to insure that you get enough of different nutrients you need for good health.

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What exactly these colours mean?

Blue and Purple fruits and veggies contains anthocyanin, which is good for heart.

Green leafy veggies are rich in chlorophyll as well as isothiocyanates. These reduce carcinogenic agents from the liver.

Green and Yellow are rich in lutein which is very important for eye health, especially necessary for the elderly people to prevent age related macular degeneration. Some are also rich in vitamin C.

Red are rich in Lycopene. It is a powerful antioxidant for preventing cancer  and heart attacks. Useful for protecting prostate health and maintaining the breast tissue. Red fruits and vegetables are also rich in flavonoids, resveratrol and vitamin C, as well as folates.

Yellow and Orange are Carotenoids or beta carotene. Extremely rich in vitamin A and retinol, which is needed for acne and wrinkle prevention. Vitamin A is needed for strong immune function and healthy vision. Also useful in preventing cancers of the stomach, esophagus etc.

c72e1f91-66e2-41a3-b43b-47baed07ef87 The darker the colour, the greater health benefits.

Eat the rainbow and be healthy!🌈

Lentil-Amaranth Spicy Soup in Pumpkin

Recipes

I love to cook dishes from seasonal products, because they are so aromatic and full of earth power as nothing else brought from anywhere, especially being in it’s best organic version.

The soup, which is cooked inside a pumpkin gains a rich flavour and is definitely worth to try while it is season. I almost end up the bowl after finished my soup 😄 Pumpkin was very soft and juicy and the soup was delicious. Good way to have first and second dish in one, like 2 in 1 in that perfect way.

COURSE: Lunch

CUISINE: Plant-based, Vegan Gluten-Free

PREP TIME: 30 min

COOKING TIME: 1,5 h

CALORIES/per soup (not counting pumpkin): 365 calories (56g carbs, 16g protein, 9,8g fats)


INGREDIENTS (1 serving)

Pumpkin –  1 whole small size (with capacity of a big soup bowl)

Lentils – 40g of uncooked

Amaranth – 2 tbsp of uncooked

Carrots – 1 medium

Onion – 1 small

Garlic – 1 clove

Olive oil – 1/2 tbsp

Vegetable broth – 1 cup

Cumin – 1 tsp

Ginger powder (or ginger juice) – 1/2 tsp

Salt and Pepper – by taste


COOKING PROCESS

  1. Pre-soak lentils in water about 3-4 h or leave it in the water for a night before to cook.
  2. Cut carrot, onion and garlic in small pieces. Put in the pan and cook in olive oil for 5-7 min.
  3. Prepare pumpkin bowl by taking out pumpkin seeds. Fill the space with pre-soaked lentils, amaranth and fried vegetables.
  4. Add vegetable broth, ginger, cumin, pepper and salt. Add some water if pumpkin capacity allows to fill it more. Bake in oven all together about 1-1,5h at 190-200C.
  5. Check the pumpkin and soup inside every 30 min. Continue cooking if it is still not ready. The duration of cooking very depends on a type of pumpkin.

 

TIPS
Don’t take big pumpkin and leave some space so soup doesn’t come over when it starts to boil considering that lentil are becoming bigger.

Be creative here! If you have bowls leftovers you haven’t finished, you can turn it into pumpkin hummus, what I really did this time.

Thank you Mr. Pumpkin 🎃 for this gastronomic trip.

 

PERSIMMON SALAD

Salads

Winter time associates with mandarins for most of the people, but for me this is the season of persimmons first of all. It seems I eat at least one fruit every day and it is never enough until the end of the season. For this reason I decided to invent some new dishes with this very tasty and super healthy sunny fruit for a change.

COURSE: Lunch, Dinner

CUISINE: Plant-based, Vegan, Raw,  Gluten-Free

COOKING TIME: 10-15 min

CALORIES/per serving: 320 calories (57g carbs, 7g protein, 11g fats)


INGREDIENTS /per 1 serving

Persimmon – 1 *medium ripe

Cauliflower raw – 3 small buds

Pomegranate seeds – 1 handful

Cucumber – 1 small

Arugula – 1 cup

Cilantro – 2 sprigs

Seeds – handful *pumpkin, pine or mix of 4

DRESSING

Olive oil – 1 tsp

Pomegranate vinegar – 1 tsp

White balsamic – 1 tsp

Pomegranate zaatar – 1/2 tsp (optional)

Salt and rose pepper – by taste


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This semi-sweet salad is so fresh and very rich in flavor. I wish you enjoy it together with me.

Warm greetings to persimmon addicts! :))

Let’s celebrate winter together taking the best from the time!

 

GEORGIA

Travels

Georgia is a famous place for it’s cuisine. I could bite my fingers every time the food is served. Khachapuri, khinkali, pkhali, lobio, churchkhela… is a never ending story in Tbilisi. From breakfast to lunch and from lunch to dinner, and from dinner to breakfast, and so on, and again. So delicious food, that I couldn’t stop eating.

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COOKING IN TBILISI

For the reason to bring some recipe back to Latvia I have visited some local villages in order to make my own Georgian bread Puri and sweets called Churchkhela.

October is a perfect time for visiting Georgia. This is a season of grapes and we had a chance to taste young wine and make fresh churchkhela.

We have visited wineries in Khakheti tasting very good Georgian wines, enjoying walk in wine yards, beautiful view to the mountains along the road and cooking Georgian traditional food with locals.

CHURCHKHELA

Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian sweet, which rather looks like a sausage, but don’t judge it by it’s appearance. It is very qualitative sweetness made only from natural ingredients and very delicious, especially if you are a connoisseur of dried fruits and nuts, who I am.

Georgian lady shared her experience for cooking traditional dishes with us.

COOKING PROCESS:

Churchkhela is being cooked from two prepared ingredients.

  1. Filling. It consists of nuts, rather walnuts, but other nuts also can be used. Take whole pieces and needle with thread. Thread the nuts through the center and knot both ends. Make a strips around 20cm long and put aside.
  2. Tatara. Is a dough, which covers the nuts and made from grape juice cooked for 40 minutes with adding flour and sugar. The mixture should be is sticky and dark brown colour.

Take the strip with nuts and put it down in the tatara holding the edge of the strip. Take it out and hang it for drying. Drying can take up to 3-5 days until it stops be sticky.

Freshly made churchkhela (right away at the season of grapes) is the total love and joy. The biggest mistake is to try stale churchkhela, which can spoil all impression about this special product. Be picky, especially when you buy pieces for souvenirs. There are only one spot in Tbilisi airport with good fresh churchkhela in the main hall before you move to gates control.

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PURI

Georgian bread Puri is made simply from flour and water, but the interesting thing about this bread is a special technique how it is being cooked in a deep circular clay oven called tone. That was very nice experience to make Puri myself, but this is impossible to repeat it at home. I will need to come back to Georgia to repeat it again 🙂

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TOMATO-CUCUMBER SALAD WITH WALNUTS

A standard salad served in any Georgian restaurant as appetizer. The main specialty of this salad is the sauce made with walnuts. Grown in Georgia fresh cucumbers, ripe and juicy red tomatoes, and red onions are delicious by itself, but salad dressing make it even more special.  Salad sauce cooking style varies from place to place. Some make it creamy by blending nuts in food processor, but some grinding in a pestle. I do choose second option, since I love to feel small pieces of nuts.

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DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

Walnuts

Sunflower oil (I am using a walnut oil)

Garlic

Cilantro

Vinegar (I like to use pomegranate vinegar)

Salt and pepper

COOKING PROCESS:

It is too simple to describe long.

  1. Cut cucumbers and tomatoes in medium size pieces and slice red onion.
  2. Cut cilantro and grind walnuts.
  3. Mix all dressing ingredients together and put over cut vegetables.

 

Enjoy the taste of Georgia at home any moment 🙂

Baked Oat Porridge

Breakfast

This baked gorgeous oat porridge reminds me a pie. The same tasty, easy to cook and looks fantastic at your breakfast table. Instead of watching all the time your oat porridge on the stove in order to avoid it getting overboiled, just make it smart way by cooking it in the oven.

COURSE: Breakfast, Dessert

CUISINE: Plant-based, Vegan

PREP TIME: 15 min

COOKING TIME: 25 min


INGREDIENTS /serving number depends on size of the cooking dish

Oat flakes (whole-grain preferably)

Milk (dairy or non-dairy by your choice)

Apple and pear (berries and bananas as an option)

Nuts (hazelnut and walnuts are the best for this combination)

Orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon and ground ginger (optional and suits very well here)

Honey

COOKING PROCESS

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 190 C.
  2. Cut the fruits in pieces leaving some for decorating the top of your pie. Mix oat flakes with nuts, cut fruits. Place it evenly over the cooking dish. I personally prefer to chop up nuts to smaller pieces to make it soften and give a flavour to all porridge.
  3. Use oats and any milk in proportion 2:3. Add spices in the milk, gently blend and put the milk over the dish.
  4. Add some honey, fresh apples, pears and whole nuts on the top of the porridge for the decoration. Sometimes I also add some dried fruits as plums, raisins or dried apricots, when I am in the mood or have some extra staff.
  5. Bake it in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

TIPS

You can serve it together with sauce. For example, with manufactured caramel or chocolate sauce or even cook it yourself. I usually make mango-cashew sauce, which I serve in a separate dish. I also find it cool to serve baked porridge together with one ice-cream scoop.

You can make it simple way or as dessert and all the time make it different way, so your households will always be surprised and never get bored. And it will take you only 40 minutes to create a morning glory for them.

I hope it was useful and you enjoy the taste and the style together with me. 😉

 

Ode to Avocado!

Nutrition

Who don’t like the fruit with it’s creamy texture and fresh buttery taste? We all know that it is healthy as well! But what exactly do we know about avocados benefits?
Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.

In 100g (approx. 1 small fruit):

Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA
Folate: 20% of the RDA
Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA
Potassium: 14% of the RDA
Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA
Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA
Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA
Fiber: 7 grams; 27% of RDA

Having 22g of fats in 100g of product, avocado can increase “fat soluble” (meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized) nutrients absorption. This includes vitamins A, D, E and K… along with antioxidants like carotenoids. It is worth to mention that avocados are also high in antioxidants.
And of course avocados are very very tasty! 😋

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Do you like avocado even more now?

 

Golden Milk

Nutrition

Golden milk is my top drink for winter time. It is a spicy drink made of milk (dairy or non-dairy by your choice), turmeric powder and other spices, that ever your imagination and possibilities allows you to chose.

After long time of experiments and the method of poking, I personally prefer buckwheat or almond milk with turmeric powder, cinnamon or cardamom, orange zest or rose pepper, cayenne salt, Indonesian black pepper and honey.

Whats so good about turmeric?

Turmeric is a plant of ginger family, which contains curcumin.  Curcumin is well known for plenty of benefits medical effect:

• Anti-inflammatory drugs
• Antidepressants (Prozac)
• Chemotherapy
• Anticoagulants (Aspirin)
• Pain killers
• Diabetes drugs (Metformin)
• Arthritis medications
• Inflammatory bowel disease drugs
• Cholesterol drugs (Lipitor)
• Steroids
• Skin Care
• Obesity

1. Powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.

2. Curcumin happens to be a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure.
It also boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes and increases antioxidant capacity in body.

3. Curcumin boost brain activity.
It may be effective at delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function.
There is also the possibility that it could help improve memory and make you smarter.

4. Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world. Curcumin lowers risk of heart disease.
5. Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. It can affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level.

6. Incredible benefits against depression. According to a small study, curcumin might be an effective antidepressant. It also can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.

NOTE!

  1. People with diabetes and iron deficiency should limit consumption of turmeric in food.
  2. Most of the curcumin doesn’t get absorbed and it just passes through your digestive tract. If you are looking for curcumin as supplement, choose one with bioperine (another name for piperine), which enhances absorption of curcumin by 2000%.
  3. Curcumin is fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.
  4. Curcumin content in turmeric is not that high. It’s around 3% by weight. If you are looking for strong medical effect from curcumin, you have to take additional supplement.

Despite all benefits, this drink is very tasty and good for warming up in a cold day.

Enjoy it!

Shakshuka

Breakfast

Shakshuka is a traditional Jewish dish, which is perfect for breakfast or lunch or even dinner. You can make it as a light dish for breakfast just with tomato sauce and eggs as well as serve it with nice piece of bread, or you can make it as complete lunch or dinner dish adding some beans or even cheese in the sauce. But I will stick to traditional variation, which I prefer most of others.

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Shakshuka is simple dish in cooking, the main trick is to place egg in the pot with sauce proper way to get perfect poached egg.

COURSE: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

CUISINE: Ovo-Vegeterian,  Gluten-Free

PREP TIME: 10 min

COOKING TIME: 30 min

COURSE CALORIES/per serving: 350 kcal (18g protein, 26g carbs, 19g fats)


COOKING PROCESS INGREDIENTS/per 2 servings

Onion – 1 medium

Red paprika – 1 medium

Canned diced tomatoes – 400ml

Tomato paste – 2 tbsp

Eggs – 4

Garlic – 1-2 cloves

Cumin – 1 tsp

Chili pepper powder – 1 tsp

Cayenne salt – 1 tsp

Oil – 1 tbsp

Cilantro fresh – for decoration

Black pepper and salt to taste


COOKING PROCESS

  1. Start with the sauce. Cut onions, paprika and garlic into small pieces. Put cut onions in a pan together with frying oil. Cook it until golden about 5-7 min. Add paprika and garlic and cook all together another 3-5 min. Then add diced tomatoes from can with all juice and put 2 tablespoons of tomato paste in the sauce, add all spices and bring to boil. Stew for 10 min. Sauce is ready.  *Separate the sauce in two pans if you wish to serve each portion in private pan.
  2. Make a hole with a spoon closer to the pan edge the way so we could place the rest of eggs a long the edge of the pan without touching one another. Place an egg in the hole and help with the spoon to place it deeper if you see that it comes over the sauce. Repeat with the rest of eggs. Cover with a lid and cook on low fire about 10 min to have soft yolk. Check the egg readiness from time to time to reach desirable condition.
  3. Serve with cilantro leaves and with piece of bread or cracker as an option.

NUTRITION

Shakshuka is also valuable in terms of nutrients. Due to eggs it is a great source of protein, all nine essential amino acids and choline (which helps liver function, decreases inflammation, good for brain, as well as physical and mental performance). What’s more, the tomatoes in shakshuka are a good source of vitamins A, C, K, folate, and potassium, and have been linked to a reduced risk of several cancers, including throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, prostate, and ovarian cancer. Cumin is a good source of energy, vitamin A, C, E & B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and minerals like iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. Cumin is very dense in iron, providing almost 20% of your daily iron in one teaspoon.

Bon appetite!