Ramadan & the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for everyone

I am admittedly a foodie at heart and by profession, being a chef. When food does take center stage of your life and work, it may sound weird talking about fasting in a food related blog. However, the appreciation of something grows with the absence of it, isn’t it? Taking a periodical break from food can be very, very rewarding in many ways: Physical, mental and spiritual.
With Ramadan starting soon, this is a golden opportunity also for non-Muslims to re-think food intake. I often tune in with the spirit of Ramadan and mindfulness, performing an inner cleanse with something we call “Intermittent Fasting” even though I am not following this for religious reasons.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

It is giving your digestive system a break from the (hard) digestive work.
During a fast your body has the chance to clear stored toxins, rejuvenate, lose extra body fat, and heal.

A fast can be performed in many ways:  A full day and a full night,  or just a full day (like in Ramadan, from sunrise until after sunset), you can fast a few full days in a row, or only a few more hours than you usually would not eat (like during the time you sleep). Whatever suits you better, it is worth giving fasting a try.
As it is always hard to break a routine, it will be difficult in the beginning, but after a few days you will adjust to the new pattern. What else is in there for you? And I can assure you your taste buds are super sensitive after they have “rested” for longer than usual. Eating the simplest foods will be a special treat. Having said that – how to break such an intermittent fast the best and healthiest way?

We will talk in more depth about this theme in our next free health talks series:

15th May 9.45 – 10.30 am at Talise Cafe Madinat Jumeirah
16th May 10.45 -11.30 am in Talise Cafe Jumeirah Beach Hotel
18th May 6 – 6.45 pm in Talise Fitness Jumeirah Emirates Towers.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

xx Chef Gabi

p.s. Peonies from my garden at home in beautiful Bavaria 🙂
IMG_6307

New Health Culinary Masterclasses in March

Whether you are up for a spring clean from the inside out or looking for easy to replicate recipes for everyday healthy eating – our culinary masterclasses will delight your taste buds! We are passionate about healthy food and equally passionate about good taste. Finally we have got our own space to conduct our popular cooking classes here in Dubai: The Talise Cafes.

Please see the schedule for group classes below.

Health Food Master Classes  with Gabriele Kurz  

To Look good on the outside one must feel good on the inside
Our masterclasses are hands on cooking demos conducted by myself,  Gabriele Kurz (also known to many as “Chef Gabi”) sharing my most refined and beyond delicious recipes for a healthy lifestyle – you won’t miss anything. Practical cookery tips and nutritional background information to better understand that food is the most powerful tool to maintain or achieve good health, beauty, and wellbeing. Forget bland tasting diets and restrictions when you start cooking and eating with us. With our great tasting and easy to replicate recipes you will love healthy eating and cooking. neu_16_tomatenterine

What is included in the Class

  • 5 hours cooking master class
  • Recipes & Cooking Demo
  • Health & nutrition talk
  • Refreshments during the class
  • Food Sampling
  • Chef’s give away
  • Minimum participants 10
  • Location:
    Talise Café Madinat Jumeirah Resort

Price: AED 385 per person

To express interest in our master classes or book a seat please contact:

gabriele.kurz@jumeirah.com

Our March Schedule:

Spring Clean Menu (Raw & vegan)
In need for a spring detox and don’t want to compromise on Culinary delights? Great to entertain guests too

2 Tomato Agar Agar | Garden Greens | Basil Dressing
Carrot Fennel Essence | Zaathar Flax Crackers
Quinoa | Butternut | Avocado Citrus Salsa
Sweet Finish: Raw Mango Cocoa Slice

Event Date: Saturday 18th March 9.30 am – 12 pm
Roots Vegetables – the ideal Brain Food My favorite light food selection for everyday Cooking with friends (vegan)
Caramelized Cumin Carrots | Cauliflower Hummus
Beetroot Essence | Asian perfumes
Almond Mylk poached Parsnips | Pea Avocado crème | Vanilla
Sweet Finish: Strawberry Lavender Agar Agar

Event Date: Friday 24th March 9.30 am – 12 pm
My Bavarian Favorites with a twist
great to prepare & have guests (vegetarian)
Beetroot Tartar | Cauliflower Remoulade | Cumin Knäcke
Vegetable Essence | Bavarian Semolina Dumplings | Chives
Spinach Knödel | Tomato Ragout | Steamed Kale
Sweet Finish: My Apple Strudel

Event Date: Friday 31st March 9.30 am – 12 pm

I am looking forward to seeing you there!

xx
Chef Gabi

Summer on your plate – what to cook with zucchini

Whoever has grown their own zucchini in the garden are familiar with the problem – there can be easily an oversupply of these low GI (glycemic index) and very versatile Mediterranean vegetable. And you find them aplenty now in the shops and organic markets. If you have made already too many ratatouilles in your life you may like to try these two of my favorite vegan and super light recipes. They are great when its hot outside and easy to digest food is all you crave: A soup made in literally 10 minutes and some no-flour veggie spaghetti that are done in an equal short time especially if you call a spiralizer your own (get it here when in Dubai). There is a youtube video about how to make the spaghetti too, thanks to the awesome collaboration with Dubai Holding Wellness. We filmed this sequence at Madinat Jumeirah Resort in Dubai.


On another note: We are taking up our cooking classes here in Dubai very soon again. Stay tuned! I will be delighted to meet you in person and cook with you more healthy & delicious food.
In the meantime: Enjoy summer and stay healthy. xx Chef Gabi

ZUCCHINI SOUP
What to buy for 2 portionsavocado_estragon_veloute

300 g zucchini or rondini (round zucchini)
500 ml vegetable stock or water
Salt, pepper
4 sprigs fresh basil and ½ cup baby spinach
½ garlic clove
Topping:  1 tbsp walnuts or pistachios
¼ celery stick
¼ red bell pepper
½ tomato
1 tsp black cumin seeds
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Photo courtesy Barbara Lutterbeck, who shot this for one of my cookbooks

How to Make it
Steam the zucchini for 3-5 minutes. Blend with water or vegetable stock, basil leaves, spinach and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Dice all the remaining vegetables and braise them in olive oil together with the crushed nuts and cumin seeds to serve on top of the soup.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
This smooth-textured low calorie soup has a delicious fresh taste, a chlorophyll and vitamin packed appetizer, lunch or dinner.
Green food nutrients support healthy blood and circulation. Iron, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B12, pyridoxine and protein are all vital for the formation and maintenance of adequate levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells. In addition, chlorophyll, vitamin K, and calcium are all involved in blood clot formation and breakdown.

Chlorophyll helps to gently cleanse the body, balance pH levels, promote good digestion and fight free radicals. Active enzymes help digestion, promote energy production and support metabolism. Antioxidants support the immune system, healthy aging and cardiovascular function.

The benefit of the regular intake of chlorophyll rich food is increased energy levels, improved digestion, enhanced mental acuity, and better looking hair, skin and nails.

ZUCCHINI SPAGHETTI
What to Buy for 2 portions
600 g zucchini
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 thyme sprig
salt and pepper to taste

Sauce:
1large red bell pepper
1 tomato
1 onion
½ Teaspoon arrowroot

How to Make it
Wash and clean the zucchini and slice it into spaghetti size strips using a mandolin slicer or vegetable spiral cutter.
In a large saucepan, heat one inch of water until it boils. Add in the garlic and the thyme with the zucchini.  Toss for max 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve with sauces or cheese to your liking.
For the sauce steam all ingredients, blend with a little bit of water and pass through a fine sieve. Liquidize the arrowroot in 2 tablespoons cold water and add to the sauce, boil for a minute to bind the liquid gently.  Season with salt and pepper.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
This is an amazing, surprising and truly worth trying recipe if you love dishes that require pasta– here is the low carb and quick to make alternative!

Another recipe using zucchini raw can be found here. Enjoy!

Summer & how to stay hydrated

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.
Herb water_4
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

 

Living the Talise Lifestyle

Healthy lifestyle and nutrition has gained so much momentum in the last years. It is great to see how everyone is much more aware how food choices affect health, wellbeing and look. I am honored to be able to share a great article about my healthy nutrition tips on the Top Food Trends 2016 written by Claire Hill on our hotel group’s very own blog. The blog is worth a look in all aspects, you may find very inspiring write ups on our luxury hotels across the globe. This is where I work! Who knows – maybe we meet in person one day somewhere in a beautiful Jumeirah hotel?
Read the article here.

Currently I am in Dubai where we have lovely winter weather with pleasant temperatures. All February I am running cooking workshops and health lectures during the first Talise Wellness Month in Madinat Jumeirah Resort, in Jumeirah Beach Hotel, in Jumeirah Emirates Towers and in Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on Palm Jumeirah. Meet me at Talise Spa, Talise Fitness and enjoy healthy choices in our restaurants. We have planned our second Talise Wellness Month (last years experience can be viewed here, here and here) with an array of healthy activities in Jumeirah Vittaveli Maldives end of March and it is safe to say we are also cooking up a visit in Jumeirah Frankfurt in spring this year. I will keep you posted.

Enjoy! xx Chef Gabi

by the way: Below pictures were taken at the iconic Burj Al Arab, our flagship hotel where Talise hosted a very exclusive Wellness Afternoon Tea including a practical cookery workshop with me.

A vegetarian take on Bavarian cuisine

We have been pioneering healthy lifestyle and cooking ever since I can remember. However – being brought up in a place where staple food is clearly much on the meat side and the cuisine rich and heavy this is not so obvious.
I am from Bavaria. Vegetarians and health food enthusiasts were a minority when I was a teenager. Nevertheless my mother had a well run Bio Hotel with exzellent vegetarian food since the 1980’s there, amidst the alpine area of Berchtesgaden and despite a beer brewer, meat eater husband. Well. That must be why she created lovely recipes of Bavarian food with a healthy and vegetarian twist. Let me share one favorite of mine with you, which I learnt is nowadays a new hype in New York City too. I claim we have invented it though! 😉 I can proof it: When I opened my vegetarian restaurant in Dubai, in Madinat Jumeirah, I had exactly this dish on the menu in 2008, much loved by our guests.
Trust me it is a worth trying dish. So delicious. Serve it with a side of potato salad. Recipe here. If you are missing the “weeds” used in this recipe, go for the classic lambs lettuce. You will love it too! The recipe can be prepared, and tastes also very good when cold. Ideal for Iftar preparations, as we have still the holy month of Ramadan.
Stay healthy during Ramadan and the hot summer. xx Chef Gabi (currently herself in Bavaria hence the Bavarian flavored Blog post).

Celery Schnitzel
2 portionsimage
What to Buy

1 small Celery root, sliced in 0.5 cm thick, and steamed al dente
20 g whole spelt bread crumbs
20 g whole spelt flour
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 egg
20 ml cream
salt, pepper to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil for frying

image

 

 

How to Make It
Season the steamed celery slices with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Then dip each slice in this order in:
Cream
Flour
Egg
Breadcrumbs.

Preheat a non stick pan. Bake the Schnitzel in coconut oil on both sides until golden and crispy.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
Place the celery Schnitzel after baking on kitchen tissues to absorb extra coconut oil.
I serve them with a lemon slice and potato salad. But they also make a great center of a sandwich with pickles for example.

image

Eating Healthy in Ramadan

Summer in Dubai. Hot climate.  2015 the high temperatures started early and this year Ramadan falls amidst the hottest period of summer. Muslims observe strict fasting on food and beverage from sunrise until sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.  When breaking the fast and during the night the intake of food and beverage can make a huge impact on health and wellbeing. Even though I am always advising in my cooking classes and consultations on the advantages of regular healthy food and liquid intake, I believe in this very specific fasting period healthy food can be enormous beneficial.

soup 1

BROCCOLI SOUP

What to Buy for 2 portions

60 g broccoli
300 ml vegetable stock or water
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
1 slice fresh garlic (less than a clove to not over power )
1 tsp pumpkin seeds oil
1/4 bunch chives or spring onions green, finely cut

optional: 4 cherry tomatoes, 20 g smoked tofu, cut in cubes and skewered on a bamboo stick

How to Make It
Steam the broccoli for 3-5 minutes. Blend with water or vegetable stock and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and serve with a drizzle of aromatic pumpkin seeds oil and freshly cut chives. Divine!If you would like to do a little bit extra garnish, pan fry the skewer with cherry tomatoes and smoked tofu in a little bit of olive oil and serve with the soup.  This is optional, a bit more work but worth trying, especially if you have guests.
Chef Gabi’s Tip
This smooth-textured low calorie soup has a delicious fresh taste, a chlorophyll and vitamin packed appetizer, lunch or dinner.

If you wish to know what else to do with broccoli, per se a very healthy vegetable, read my blog post a bout Chlorophyll and  try my raw and vegan Broccoli Pesto here. Lovely to dip crudites in it, or wholesome bread, flax crackers or with zucchini pasta.
More soups I can recommend if you are fasting or not are the earlier published
Cauliflower Soup with Beluga Lentils
Carrot Soup with Oat Quenelles
Potato Vegetable Soup with Marjoram (Bavarian taste alert!)
and keep this one for winter: Red Cabbage Soup

Stay healthy this Summer & during Ramadan. xx Chef Gabi

image