DUBAI SUMMER BLISS – home grown tropical fruits

It all startet with fruits and the love for local produce. When I met one of my closer friends here in Dubai years ago, she brought me a plate filled with soubar (not sure about the spelling), an interesting looking crunchy fruit in girly pink and white, growing on a tree in her garden. It is a local tree, producing bean-looking shells that release these cool fruits, once their are ripe:
Honestly, I have eaten them pure, but never made anything else with them until now. They are not really sweet, and have a taste hard to compare with anything I know. I really love them. They are so unique.

By the time our friendship developed, my friend asked me if I could bring a garden tool from a visit home which we use in Germany for easy picking apples from the trees. She needed it for her chikoo tree that had grown so high she couldn’t reach the fruits anymore.

So here you see how I deserve my regular chikoo gifts from her garden…! My apple pick basket is heavy in use.
If you now wonder what I did with them, ok in the beginning I just ate them as they were, the super sweet flesh scooped out of their skin. But then, I thought, why not trying to prepare them somehow? Here are two preparations I can truly recommend. Easy to make, delicious, and the fruit is still raw. Which means you have the full benefits of its Vitamins C and A, the antioxidants, calcium, copper, iron, and dietary fiber.

The ripe fruit is really great to eat pure, but see what else they are nice with: Milk and cinnamon sticks, boiled and simmered for a while to release the cinnamon flavor into the milk, then foamed and placed on top of a ginger and lime dressing brushed carpaccio of chikoos is delicious and makes a great dessert.

Another lovely dish is this Italian Zuppa style dessert:

Easy layered with slightly agave syrup sweetened whipped cream, raspberries, gluten free millet sponge (get the recipe here) and diced chikoos. This dish is good to prepare and tastes much better when it had an hour or so to rest in the fridge. Perfect! So if you happen to have chikoos, you need to try it.

Glutenfree Swiss Roll & “Flower Pralines”

Still in Bavaria, and more delicious home food…..!
Even though there is still snow in the higher regions of Berchtesgaden (this means it is very pleasant to sit near the fire place at home in the evenings), the valleys are lush green and full of beautiful spring flowers and herbs (most of them edible, by the way). So is our garden here, a rich source of all things delicious and decorative! Just follow the stairs to reach the garden….


That’s what I have captured in my mother’s restaurant kitchen today:
Millet swiss roll with whipped coffee cream. Served with a cute mini flower bouquet (everybody takes home) my mother calls “flower praline”.

I have fond memories of this lovely cake. My mother made it for my birthdays when I was a child. Since I live and work in Dubai (a wonderful place too I call my second home), I get one when I visit my Bavarian home.
It is a gluten free cake, so delicious and fluffy, and still easy to make, you might want to know the recipe? 

Millet Swiss Roll
1 swiss roll (makes approximately 8-10 portions)

What to buy
120 g millet (flour)
80 g almonds, crushed
6 eggs
2 egg yolks
80 g agave syrup
1 pinch of salt
1 organic orange (zest)
300 ml cream
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
10 g butter and 1 sheet of pergament paper for the baking tray

How to Make It
Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius. Toast the crushed almonds until they are golden. Divide the eggs. Whip the egg whites with a sprinkle of salt; add 50% of the agave syrup and then the egg yolks. Continue to whip until thick foam is achieved. Fold under the millet flour and the almonds and spread on a baking tray with buttered pergament paper. Bake the dough for around 10 minutes. After 10 minutes you need to check: It is ready when the baked dough bounces back on the soft pressure of your fingers. Now dust a large kitchen cloth with millet four. Place the warm dough with the help of the buttered pergament paper it has was baked on upside down on the kitchen cloth. Remove the pergament paper carefully. Roll up the dough with the kitchen cloth and allow it to chill at room temperature.
In the meantime whip the cream and add the remaining agave syrup, some orange zest , and the instant coffee powder. Unfold the dough on the kitchen cloth and spread 2/3 of the whipped cofee cream all over. Roll up the covered dough again with the help of the kitchen cloth. Remove the cloth carefully and cover the whole cake with the remaining cream and dust with some cocoa powder. Serve it sliced.

Flower pralines are versatile…..and very much in fashion in my mother’s kitchen as you can see. This picture shows her home made vanilla ice cream and berries and – flower praline! Just wrap a flower sponge, which was dipped in water and cut into a small cube with a green leaf, stick in some garden flowers and place in a praline capsule.

Fresh Herbs in the kitchen

Herbs keep a special place in my heart – not alone for culinary reasons. My grandfather had always cultivated 30 (!) chives plants in his small garden. One to be cut per day so each plant could recover and grow one month until he would cut it again. That’s maybe why I use to keep a small herb garden wherever I live – be it on a small balcony, a dedicated area in a large landscaped garden or best a patch close to the kitchen so I can reach my favorite ingredients easily and pick them a la minute.
Herbs add incredible benefits to our lives: Taste, aromatherapy, medicine.

This weekend I conduct a cooking class in Madinat Jumeirah with the theme

Energize Yourself with Herbs”

Talise Herb Water
Light Summer Tomato Terrine With Herbal Cream Cheese
Rosemary Whole Spelt Baguette
Green Pea Mint Gazpacho
Purple Potato and Vegetable Kebabs with Parsley Pesto
Lavender Oat Cookies
Lavender Black Currant Trifle

See you there – I hope to inspire you to be generous with herbs in your cooking!

Healthy Lifestyle – My Wellbeing Tip No 3

Introduce more PURE RAW FOOD to your daily menu plan

Healthy eating is not complicated. It is much closer to nature than you might expect.

Nature for example provides perfect balanced, wholesome foods. Raw fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables supply a high amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber and  – enzymes.
The body needs enzymes to run smooth and to digest food.

Now please read on:
Only raw and living foods (like sprouts) carry these enzymes to support digestion and to release nutrients out of the food we eat.
Heat (over 40 degrees Celsius) kills enzymes. Ergo cooked food does not carry those enzymes anymore.
Another interesting fact is that it makes a significant difference WHEN raw food is eaten – at the beginning of a meal or at the end.
The human body reacts surprisingly different when cooked food is eaten before raw food is consumed (or if any). It increases white blood cells (leukocytes), a reaction of the immune system against foreign materials or infectious disease.
However, if a certain amount of raw food is consumed first, at the beginning of a meal, it reacts with an increase of red blood cells (erythrocytes). They transport oxygen-rich blood to the body tissues and remove carbon dioxide from the body.
Prof. Dr. Claus Leitzmann, from the Institute for Science of Nutrition in Germany, (my mentor), says ideally the daily raw food consumption should make up to 50 % of the overall food intake to respond to the increased oxidative stress (more about in the next blogs) a normal adult person is exposed in life.
If you now worry how in this world you can bring the suitable amount of rabbit food into your daily menu plan: Review your eating habits and you will find that you can make simple improvements immediately. Have a freshly made muesli (get the recipe here) for breakfast, snack on crudités and unsalted nuts for example, drink a fresh pressed vegetable or fruit juice (see recipe here), order a large raw salad as a first course, eat fresh fruits for dessert and you are almost there.
If you wish to upgrade your kitchen repertoire with some interesting raw food recipes, check this blog from time to time or join my raw food cooking classes (next on May 26, from 11 am to 2 pm in Madinat Jumeirah).

These delicious cherry tomatoes and basil leaves I have picked today from my private garden (very proud of my brave little tomato plant producing every day the perfect amount) – they will be eaten raw of course!

Wishing you a healthy and energized weekend!