Water is life.
Water is the most abundant ‘chemical’ found in living organisms. Water is needed for all chemical reactions to take place. The human body is composed of around 60% water. It assists in bolstering the cells, physical and brain performance, and cleansing from the inside out, helps against headaches and constipation to name a few of its many benefits.
When it is hot in summer and we lose a certain amount of water due to sweating – refilling becomes even more important. Drinking every hour one large glass of clear water is a rule of thumb you could follow. Flavoring your water with aromatic fresh herbs and flowers will definitely upgrade your drinking and hydration experience. Not only taste-wise, herbs have many health and well-being boosting benefits. They play a central role in my kitchen. A refreshing mix of such as rosemary can make your morning, whilst a composition of relaxing herbs and flowers would help you unwind after a busy day and support a deep sleep.
I am particularly proud of my collaboration with Dubai Holding Wellness on a series of Youtube clips about edible healthy lifestyle. See how some of our delicious Aromatic Herb Waters are made here. This video has been produced in Dubai and in summer (so I am very authentically sweating here while explaining how my herbal waters are made) at the stunning Resort Madinat Jumeirah, where you can see in the background the signature waterways and as well a glimpse of our flagship hotel Burj Al Arab, which is in the close vicinity. We also serve the waters in our Jumeirah Hotels. Try them when you visit!
Stay healthy and hydrated this summer – be it in Dubai or elsewhere! xx Chef Gabi
In the hot Dubai summer my Aloe Vera grows bigger and bigger. At least one of us enjoys the climate…. !
Today I gave it a try to start reducing it a little bit, so it would not take all the place away:
I made a refreshing lemonade with jelly like pulp of the leaves. What to say, it turned out to be a delicious drink I will definitely have again!
Aloe Vera Lemonade 1 portion
What To Buy
1 organic lime (juice)
1 teaspoon acacia honey or agave syrup
a small piece of an Aloe Vera leaf (about 3 cm)
250 ml still or sparkling water
How To Make It
Press the lime juice and stir in the honey or agave syrup. Pour into a glass with ice cubes. Wash the Aloe leaf and peel it carefully. Dice the jelly like pulp finely and add to the lime juice. Top with water and stir well.
Chef Gabi’s Tip Aloe juice helps to improve digestion. It is good for cleansing and detoxifying the body due to antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
Here is two versions of my drink, that is now a regular on my personal summer treats. Which one you like better?
With cold winds chilling even Dubai’s mild winter climate I made my favorite winter tea today. Something I only do back home in Bavaria, when it is “really” cold.
Maybe you also enjoy trying this recipe, regardless your location?
Apple Cranberry Tea
What to Buy
4 red or yellow apples
1 organic lemon
5 gm ginger
15 gm cranberries
30 ml agave syrup
3 l water
How to Make It
Cut the apples in chunky pieces, leaving the skin on. Slice the ginger and lemon with their skin. Place the apples, cranberries, ginger, and lemon in a large pot, top with water and simmer on low heat for around 1 hour. Season with agave syrup to taste and strain before serving. You will see the tea being slightly thickened by the apples’ pectine.
Chef Gabi’s Tip
I often make this tea without cranberries, but with additional 1 quince, or some elderberries. Whatever is available. Also I sometimes replace the ginger with cinnamon stick. Apples are rich in pectine and help to bind and flush out toxins. Ginger is great to strengthen immune power and aids digestion.
To learn more about cranberries please see also here.
With the most welcome weather change it is wise to prepare our immune system to fight off flu attacks. Vitamin C rich foods help to stengthen immune power best. With cranberries in season I made this a vitamin packed delicious smoothie in almost no time. It features a great combination of lactic protein, pectine to bind and eliminate toxins, plenty of vitamin C, which is besides a great immune shield also helping to burn fat if you work out, Provitamin A, and it is wholesome. Perfect.
My Cranberry Smoothie
What to buy 200 ml fresh pressed carrot juice
200 ml fresh pressed apple juice
200 ml low fat yoghurt or laban
2 Passion fruits – pulp and seeds
2 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons fresh or frozen cranberries
How to Make It
Blend the cranberries with the agave syrup, the juices and the yoghurt or laban. Serve on crushed ice, toped with fresh passion fruit pulp.
Here are some interesting facts about cranberries:
The tart little red fruits are high vitamin and high health supportive phytonutrient wonders (phytonutrients are for example phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins – they are all impressive antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties) while they are extremely low in calories. They contain plenty of vitamin C, K, and E, manganese and fiber.
Wishing you a great and healthy UAE National Day – enjoy the festivities!
Recently I happened to get Physalis, also called Inca berries or Country goose berries.
I love their taste. Their ladylike appearance. And their health benefits. They are amazing little wonders, each one dressed in a little leafy frock that makes them fun to eat with your hands.
Have a look, I am sure you will fall for them like I did:
Physalis are one oft the best natural sources of antioxidants. They have plenty of Vitamins A and C, preventing the damage and ageing of cells through free radicals. There is also Vitamin P, an important support for the body to absorb Vitamin C. Their high pectine content helps to bind toxins and lower cholesterol.
As promised, I share here another of my favorite lemonades for hot summer days, this time it is the mild and fruity counterpart of the stronger herbal version with mint:
Physalis Raspberry Lemonade
Remove 8 Physalis from their husk, cut the fruits into quarters and place in a carafe. Mash 6 raspberries with 1 tablespoon of agave syrup or acacia honey (or more if you wish to have your lemonade sweeter). Add to the fruits in the carafe and top with the juice of 1/2 organic orange and 350 ml still water. Stir well and leave the mix in the fridge for around 1 hour for maceration. Serve on the rocks.
My favorite drinks in summer are green herbal or sweet fruity lemonades – home made of course.
If you happen to have a similar blessing of mint like me, cut it to encourage even better growth and make this refreshing green lemonade:
Place 10 freshly cut mint stalks with the leaves in the blender, add 500 ml still water, 1 cup of crushed ice, the juice of 1 organic lemon and approximately 2 tablespoons of agave syrup or acacia honey (take more if you love the lemonade sweeter).
Blend the ingredients well for around 30 seconds, then strain through a fine sieve.
Enjoy the green drink immediately after preparation to avoid discoloring and loss of freshness.
This drink has a convincing strong green and minty flavor, is full of chlorophyll, menthol and Vitamin C and is my secret weapon against the summer heat and thirst. The fresh breeze you feel on your taste buds when you take the first sip is something you won’t want to miss anymore once you have tried it.
Stay healthy and enjoy the summer!
Another fruity and mild lemonade recipe will be featured soon on this blog.
Recently I cut my roses in the garden. They have suffered in the heat and dried out a little bit, despite the fact I gave them enough water. So I thought I have to pamper them with an extra dose of ground coffee (leftover when coffee is made – recycle!) after the cut. It was good to see how fast they recovered, they became very green. Now they rewarded me with even more beautifully smelling blossoms. I took one off, trying to get more excitement to my daily intake of 2 litres of water (pure water is sometimes boring, isn’t it?), and mixed the rose blossom with diced strawberries, vanilla pod, organic lemon and plenty of still spring water. After a couple of hours in the fridge this drink was so refreshing and delicious! Look also here for another flavored water.
It is hot here in Dubai, very hot! Even though it is not the time to stay outdoors for long, you might still opt for a plunge in chilled pool water? So here is my recommendation for the weekend: When hanging out at the magnificent Al Quasr Pool during the Dubai summer we have the ultimate smoothie spot for you to chill and energize – a must try when you are with us in Madinat Jumeirah:
We have created healthy agave syrup seasoned smoothies and detox blends with super fruits like fresh blueberries, passion fruits and raspberries – simply delicious.
The Elder bush is highly appreciated in the region of Germany where I come from. There is a saying you have “to bow down in respect” in front of an elder bush. This plant has indeed great therapeutic benefits. When an Elder bush grows near to a house, people feel lucky through its pure presence. And of course because they can easily access its health benefits when needed. It is a cleansing and cooling herb, boosts immune system, reduces fever, soothes the respiratory tract, is anti inflammatory and purifying the blood.
The tiny white flowers open in late spring, they are used in lemonades, teas and desserts. The black berries are ripe in autumn, and are used for jams, compotes or juices. Both flowers and berries have a very specific, intense, incomparable flavor. Grown up with this taste, comes spring I can’t wait to drink fresh elder flower lemonade. Home made of course (not the bottled syrup from the grocer). If I can get hold of fresh elder flowers here in Dubai (not an easy task) I am not much willing to share my lovely home made elder flower lemonade with anyone. It is too precious! This year only ONE very very good friend got to taste it (comment: “DELICIOUS!”)
But I am sharing my recipe with you – in case you get fresh elder flowers:
What To Buy
2 l still water
10 fresh elder flowers
1/2 organic lemon
30 ml agave syrup
How To Make It
Pour the water in a large carafe. Wash the lemon and slice it with the skin.Bundle the elderflowers and dip the flowers into the water. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 24 hours.
Remove the elderflowers. Blend some of the elder flavored water with 1 slice of the macerated lemon and the agave syrup, strain and pour the liquid back into the carafe. Serve it cold. Chef Gabi’s Tip:
This lemonade works only with fresh elderflowers. Not dry ones. (They are good for tea). When making this lemonade, never dip the ends of the elderflower stalks into the water. Elder flower lemonade keeps for just 2 days in the fridge. Anyway: Once you taste it, you can’t stop drinking and it will be gone in no time.
In case elder flower is too difficult to source, another lovely home made lemonade recipe is coming soon – strawberries and rose, another favorite of mine.
Stay healthy and hydrated!
(You might also like Aromatic Water)
When I recently did the grocery shopping for my home in Dubai (the fridge needed an urgent update – it was empty after travelling), I found this stunning dragon fruit and could not resist to take it home.
I was attracted by it’s look, so bold, bright pink and green.
Never having used it other than as sliced fruit for decorative reasons I wanted to see if it works for a dish or drink.
I started to make a drink with what was in the cupboard: Vanilla, dried hibiscus blossoms, rose water and agave syrup.
And here is the outcome: A delicious ruby red ice tea, refreshing, mild, flowery and light.
Dragon Fruit Ice Tea 2 Portions What to Buy 1 dragon fruit
1 tablespoon dried hibiscus blossoms
1/2 vanilla pod
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon fresh pressed lemon juice
1 tablespoon rose water
400 ml still water
How to Make It
Bring the water to a boil with the vanilla pod and the hibiscus blossoms. Remove fom the heat and allow it to chill. Peel the dragon fruit and cut it into dices. Keep 2 slices for garnish. Strain the hibiscus tea, keep two blossoms on the side for garnish. Season it with agave syrup, lemon juice and rose water. Place some ice cubes and the diced dragon fruit in glasses and top with the seasoned hibiscus tea. Garnish with dragon fruit slice and hibiscus blossom.
Chef Gabi’s Tip
This drink is not only quenching your thirst, it also offers a number of health benefits:
Both dragon fruit and hibiscus are rich in Vitamin C and antioxidant properties, they both help to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and boost immune system. Vanilla supports weight loss and relieves stress. Rose water balances emotion.