Swedish Confectionery: Chokladbollar

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Ever since I was little, I had this thing for Scandinavians – be it their food, their decoration, interior design in general, or clothing – and of course their warm and welcoming character. Back in the days we used to have International Food Days at our school, and since I’ve been to international schools, there were quite a few foods to display. I remember running from one food stand to another and trying to buy as much as possible – the sweets at the American stand were one of my favorites too (ah, the love for fruit-roll-ups!). All money that was collected was given to charity (as far as I can remember), so my parents were willing to spend a little extra here and there. I remember the Swedish stand always had their Chokladbollar that one of the moms made and I could never get enough of them – despite me not liking the taste of coffee when I was young. They were too good. Now with the Christmas holidays coming up, there is no better excuse for making more sweets. They are perfect for when you have guests over for a coffee or tea, and want a little something to serve along the side. Because of the perfect size, everyone can portion how much they want to eat (though I am never able to control myself!). This recipe makes about 25 Chokladbollar.

What you need

150g butter (at room temperature)
30g raw cacao 
130g glutenfree small oats
200g brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold, fresh coffee (I used decaffeinated coffee)
120g coconut flakes

What to do

1) mix all ingredients, except for the coconut flakes, in a large bowl
2) place the coconut flakes on a large plate for you to roll the confectionary in
3) Take out about one medium tablespoon of your Chokladbollar mixture and start forming a ball with it using your hands
4) Once you got the form, let it roll through the coconut flakes, roll it again in your hands, and add another layer of flakes
5) repeat steps 3 to 4 until the mixture is finished
6) Place the Chokladbollar in a fridge for about 20 minutes before serving for them to keep the form

Now you can

1) keep it in the fridge (who would?) for about 5 days
2) serve it with hot coffee, tea or a warm chocoalte
3) freeze them for a later use

As you can see this is about one of the easiest recipes ever and one simply cannot ruin it. Now, because they are so simple, I am always afraid of actually making them too often to later indulge into these calorie-bites by myself. Nevertheless, it’s a great treat to keep in the fridge or freezer to pull out when you have friends coming over on a spontaneous note.

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Pak Choy & Rice Noodles

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Happy Monday! The first day of the week is already over – once again, faster than I thought. The upcoming days are full, full, full, starting with a meeting tomorrow morning at 8am (way too early!). Today has been quite relaxed though, which was a nice start into the week. I had my first blood donation today over lunch, which I did at the blood donation centre in central Zurich (here). For all those capable of donating blood, I really, really encourage it. It is being used for research as well as for people who need it – it safes lives and only takes a couple of minutes. The first time through they ask you a bunch of questions and make sure you are healthy (you need to pass the questions, ie no new tattoos or piercings in the last couple of months, no infections, etc.). The actual donation takes between 5-12 minutes at max, and so it’s one of those things that can be done quickly over lunch. Let’s not forget, it’s only 3-4 times a year you can do it, and with that, you safe lives! I can’t say it often enough, and it really means a lot to me. :’)

Now back to what I really wanted to share with you: Pak Choy. Many of you probably know this vegetable already, but if you don’t – I really recommend it. It’s so tasty, so healthy and can be combined in so many ways. I’ve been using it non-stop the past week in my kitchen and my fridge is filled with it.

I love cooking as you all know, but food needs to be done in a short amount of time for me. I don’t have the time to spend hours and hours infront of the stove during the week, yet prefer cooking fresh on a daily basis. Or at least every second day (in case I have leftovers). This recipe is, as always, gluten free, dairy free and super easy in the making.

What you need (for 2 servings)

½ onion
2-3 cm fresh ginger
2 Pak Choy 
5-6 Champions (or any other mushrooms)
160g chicken
vegetable broth (by choice)
150g rice noodles (or however much you would normally eat)
2-3 tablespoons peanut oil (or any other oil, ex. olive oil)

What to do

1) finely chop the onions and ginger and place them in a large pan with the oil and the cut chicken (bite size) – you can turn up the heat fully until everything starts sizzling and then make sure to lower it to half the temperature
2) place a pot with water on the stove and heat it up – add vegetable broth if you want – and cook the rice noodles as per instructions on the package
3) wash the pak choy and cut it in half (as on the photos) and place them on top of the onion, ginger and chicken (after turning these once more)
4) chop up the champions and place these on top of the pak choy – now place the appropriate lid on the pan and let it sit until the noodles are ready (lower the heat by another 50%)
5) once the noodles are ready (mine took about 15min), turn the heat off from both the pan and the pot
6) Drain the noodles and wash them once more thoroughly under cold water (makes them less sticky) before placing them on the plate
7) place the pak choy on the sides and add the rest of what’s left in the pan on the noodles

Voila, now you can serve the plates to the table (always good to use pre-heated plates – I like to place them in the oven for 10 mins at 60-80°C) and hopefully enjoy the meal as much as I did.

Wishing you all a great evening and rest of the week! xo

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BTW – how pretty does lighter colored food become on black plates? These were bought at Ikea and are perfect if you don’t want to invest much into them (who knows how long black will look good on the dinner table)

Muesli Mornings

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Good morning and happy Wednesday! Work is seriously picking up in speed now and the days are passing by faster than ever. Can you believe it’s almost Christmas in 3 months? With these faster days I need my breakfast ready in an instant, so it’s either prepared for the morning or takes me less than 5 minutes to make. I’ve always been a huge muesli lover when I was a child. I’d have oatmeal-chocolate muesli daily during school days – or nutella breads on the other days. With my intolerances towards gluten and lactose this has worn off in the past years and I’ve only occassionally eaten some glutenfree mueslis that I saw in stores.

Now I finally made my very first own muesli. A bit crunchy, yet it soaks up the milk perfectly. It filled up a big jar in the kitchen for me to take out a cup in the morning, add some lactose free milk or yoghurt and fruit to it. It’s perfect for when I don’t have much time – or I take it to the office in a small mason jar, where I keep some lactose free milk too. I’ve tried it with almond milk as well, though must admit it’s too sweet even for my taste in the mornings now. So here’s to the recipe:

What you need

1 cup buckwheat flakes
1 ½ cups popped amaranth
1 cup coconut flakes
¼ cup rice flakes
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup peanut oil (or any other vegetable oil)
4 tablespoons agave syrup (or more if you want it sweeter)

What to do

1) heat up the oven to 180°C
2) mix everything thoroughly in a large bowl – make sure that the oil and agave syrup are spread well
3) spread everything in a large lasagne dish / or any other large oven form you have at hand
4) bake for 20-25 min, mixing the muesli 3-4 times to enable everything to get a nice gold/brown color
5) take it out and let it cool-off (it well get slightly crunchier when cooled off fully)

Now you can

1) add some milk to the muesli (and fruit) – serve it
2) serve it with yoghurt and fresh fruit (also amazing with berries)
3) put everything in a large jar for daily usage
4) fill small mason jars and make home-made kitchen gifts out of it – who doesn’t love themselves a nice jar of muesli?

With that, I wish you some great morning breakfasts (or snacks) to come. xo

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glutenfree x lactosefree

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Happy Tuesday everyone! Can a tuesday even be THAT happy, haha? I believe everyday should be enjoyed and every moment cherished, if possible. Sounds cheesy I know, but in the end: we only live once! Last week I bought two new recipe books to get some more inspiration in the kitchen. I love cooking and baking, but it’s gotten all a little bit more complicated since I not only have to avoid lactose, but also gluten since a couple of months now. However, I quickly found out that there are so many substitudes for the things I shouldn’t be eating. And to be honest, I still eat dark chocolate from time to time – I just can’t say no sometimes! These are two german recipe books, but maybe they can also be found in english. Either way, I have to say I am amazed by the recipe choices I have. And it’s super fun, I get to try out so much new stuff in the kitchen! With Christmas right around the corner the baking season begins again, so I’ve picked out some amazing marzipan-almond cookie recipes, which I will be trying out within the next few days. I will definetely keep you posted on recipes I find and the ones I try making on my own (if good, haha!).

See those jars of apple-sauce in the background? Amazing, I tell ya! I just made them a few days ago, so this super-easy recipe will be following soon. I am constantly looking for new recipes to try out, now that I cannot eat everything anymore in huge portions, so I am happy about any tipp you guys have for me. Also, I just got a gluten-free bread, which I ordered from the bakery – not bad at all!

I actually just had some gluten-free porridge topped with applesauce for breakfast – super yummy. Now off to the first meeting in a few minutes, I’ve got quite the busy schedule this week again. Luckily for me, some lunches and dinners are included. So I can easily order my food and do not have to cook all too much this week!

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