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

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.

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

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!

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




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

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.


Quality of Life

#youngonesMy Fridays start colorful, aromatic, delicious and communicative. Coming to the farmers market at Jumeirah Emirates Towers beautiful garden here in Dubai is definitely enhancing my and many other’s quality of life. It is a true gem of a market, relaxed,intimate, beautiful, and filled with some of the best produce the region has to offer. I often come here for my personal grocery shopping and get the freshest organic locally grown vegetables, Yemeni honey, artisan bread, organic eggs, olive oil and amazing tahini. Not to forget the lovely chats along the shopping with the farmer’s and producers, fellow chefs and food bloggers, friends and colleagues.
Occasionally I also come here to inspire….Eat more vegetables! I show how I prepare  my healthy vegetarian dishes. Vegetable cooking benefits like any other cooking from that little bit of extra love and passion, seasoning, and creative combinations.
We all agree that “eating the colours of a rainbow” helps enormously in not missing out essential nutrients. However whilst many of us know exactly what to do with the bright ones yellow, orange, red and green, there is often a lack of imagination what to do creatively with the whites and (almost) blacks. That’s why this Friday fennel bulbs and eggplants took center stage on my demo. The dishes are not necessarily related, even though they have been presented together for the tasters.
Seeing people lining up to purchase fennel and more fennel after the show was awesome.
The benefits of fennel are manifold. There is a whole pharmacy in a fennel bulb. And eggplants are definitely the vegetable of choice for those watching their caloric intake. Especially when steamed, which hardly anyone does. Something to try!

Here are the recipes of yesterday’s Talisenutrition show cooking. Enjoy and have a lovely weekend!

Aromatic Fennel Puree
What to Buy for 2 portions
1 medium fennel bulb
1 clove garlic
1 small white onion
1 clove garlic
1 star anise
20 g Tahini (sesame paste)
5 cherry tomatoes
1 organic lemon (zest)
salt and pepper to taste
10 ml olive oil

How to Make It
Clean the fennel. keep the greens if they are fresh. Steam the fennel until soft. Meanwhile braise the garlic, onion and freshly ground star anise in olive oil. Blend the fennel with the aromatic oil-garlic-star anise mixture, the Tahini, lemon zest and add a splash of water if needed to get the blade of the blender running. Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with fennel greens and cherry tomato halves.

Chef Gabi’s Tip:
This aromatic, velvety puree is very versatile. I use it as a bread dip, for crudites, spread it on grilled Portobello mushrooms, eggplant halves or serve it with a main course.

Eggplants with Pomegranate and Rosewater #workingmagic
What to Buy for 2 portions
2 small eggplants
3 gloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Juice of 1 lemon
5 ml olive oil
4 sprigs thyme or zaathar, leaves picked
30 ml rose water
1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
10 g flaked almonds with the skin
Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
salt and pepper to taste
for those who like it a little bit spicy: 1 small chili, seeds removed, chopped

How to Make It:
Pound garlic, cinnamon, chili, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper in amortar and pestle to a coarse paste. Transfer into a bowl. Add oil, rosewater, pomegranates, honey or maple syrup. Mix well.
Toast the almonds until they are golden.
Cut the eggplants in quarters and steam for around 3-5  minutes. Arrange steamed eggplants on plates and spoon the pomegranate dressing over. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Chef Gabi’s Tip:
I clearly love the middle eastern approach to cooking. Since living and cooking in Dubai for 8 years now I have definitely embraced being generous with aromatic seasonings. This combination brings out the best in eggplants. I can eat this every day.
You can add short braised kale or spinach to the dish as shown in the picture. Or cooked quinoa, black rice (my current favorite), or brown rice to make it a more filling main course.


Raw Fruit Tartlets

For all those loving some sweet bites guilt free and raw – this is one of my favorite little numbers for a sweet bite. Great to snack on or for Canapés.



imageWhat to buy

Tartlet Shortcrust
1oo g whole spelt flour
60 g hazelnuts, ground
150 ml water

2 tablespoons almond or cashew butter
Juice of 1 organic orange
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons crushed ice

Mixed fruits and berries like strawberries, raspberries, grapes, figs, pomegranates…..

How to make it
Combine the ingredients for the dough. Press the dough into small non-stick tartlet forms and allow air drying for around 6 hours or using a dehydrator for about 3 hours. Carefully remove the shells from the forms. For the cream combine and puree all ingredients in a blender. Pipe the cream into the tartlet shells and garnish with fruits and berries. Serve immediately.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
Prepare tartlet shells in advance, as well the nut cream. The tartlets are easily assembled a la minute short before serving.
This recipe is from my mother’s book, Die Vegetarische Kochschule,  titled “Best Vegetarian Cookbook” at the Gourmand Cookbook Awards in Paris.

Healthy Food for Running


Dubai Holding annual Womens Run is coming up soon, hence I have been asked to give some tips how to nourish the body in preparation, during and after running a marathon.
Nourishing the body and eating smart is always a good idea. It can help in many ways to be better, support sports performance, look great, feel good every day.

Read the article here.
dscn17421As the good carbs play a role when it comes to endurance sport performance
this simple and delicious recipe might be of interest!

Stay healthy and enjoy life!

Raw Spicy Crackers

As a chef and passionate cook I am by nature a fan of all fancy kitchen gadgets. Needless to say I risk running out of space in my test kitchen…But I had a  v e r y  good excuse to buy myself a dehydrator recently (I kept my eyes on several models for quite a while) – needed it to develop more raw food recipes! Now I am excited to try some really delicious treats. With the side effect my friends get to try a lot at our FIFA world cup gatherings (yes I am watching football!).

Raw Spicy Flax Crackers

What to Buy
50 g golden flax seeds
10 g black chia seeds
20 g black sesame seeds
1/2 bunch fresh zaatar or thyme
50 g almonds with skin
1 garlic clove
1 red bell pepper
1 fennel bulb
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 small red chili (optional, leave it out if you don’t like it hot spicy)
5 ml olive oil
Salt to taste
150 ml water
dehydrator 1dehydrator 2dough spreaddehydrator 3dehydratorcrackers ready

How to Make It
Juice the fennel, the garlic and the red bell pepper. Grind the almonds in a food processor until they are fine. Chop the zaatar, garlic and the chili. Mix all ingredients and add as much water as needed until a semi soft and smooth dough is achieved. Season with salt. Spread the dough out thinly on parchment paper and place in the dehydrator at 45 degrees Celsius for 10 hours. Note: The thinner the dough, the better turn out the crackers.

Chef Gabi’s Tip:
Keep the crackers in an airtight container until use.
Once entirely dehydrated you can brake the crackers into desired size pieces (I love them unevenly broken, they look like we do this with baked Lavosh) and serve them either in bread basket or as pictured below topped with guacamole, cherry tomatoes and basil leaves as a healthy and delicious snack.
crackers avocado

I had made a similar recipe into mini grissinis, for an event in Abu Dhabi Jumeirah at Etihad Towers recently, together with a chilled Carrot Vichysoisse. So good!
vichysoisse 2 bettersetting up AD

Stay balanced, healthy and fit this Ramadan.