Saturday, 14 January 2017

Homemade Kombucha

As I mentioned here I'm not drinking alcohol during 2017. So far so good! I thought I would miss that relaxing glass of red wine on Friday nights, but actually I don't. Well, there have only been two Fridays since New Year's Eve :) Anyway, I think that kombucha is the perfect drink to sip on instead of wine. I like to pour my kombucha into a wine glass and maybe also add some frozen raspberries to make it more "special".

Blood orange kombucha with frozen raspberries
I used to buy small bottles of kombucha which are crazy expensive here in Sweden. But now for the last few months I've made my own after receiving a SCOBY (more on that below!) from a friend. When I first began brewing my own I thought it would be extremely complicated and time-consuming, but it's actually the opposite. It's so simple once you get the hang of it.

So what is kombucha?
It's a fermented tea! Doesn't sound that delicious? It is! It's fizzy like a soda but much less sweet and more acidic. More "grown-up" in taste.

Since it's fermented it contains live bacteria/probiotics which are super great for your gut. It has many other health benefits, but I actually mostly drink it because it's so delicious. If you like acidic and vinegar-y tastes, you'll love kombucha.

And what is a SCOBY??
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. It's the thing that makes it all happen (the fermentation process, that is) and as you see it's a combination of both bacteria and yeast. The SCOBY looks like a disgusting slimy little pancake but without it, no kombucha.

A SCOBY can be bought online or in some health-food shops. The simplest way, though, is to get one from a kombucha brewing friend, as you get an extra SCOBY in every brew.

I loosely follow Sarah Britton's excellent instructions on her blog My New Roots (see her post here). I highly suggest you check out her guide before starting.

I mainly do like this:
  1. Brew about 1 litre (4 1/4 cup) of super strong tea (I most often use green gunpowder tea). I probably use about 2 tbsp loose tea. Let it brew for at least 15-20 minutes.
  2. Pour the tea into a super big (3 litre/12-13 cups) glass jar. Add about 1 cup (2 dl) organic cane sugar* and stir until dissolved.
  3. Fill the rest of the glass jar with cold water until almost full. Make sure that the tea is cooled down before continuing as the SCOBY will die if added to hot/warm tea.
  4. Add the SCOBY and about 1-1 1/4 cup (2-3 dl) pre-made kombucha (store-bought or from your last brew).
  5. Cover the glass jar with a tea towel secured with a rubber band.
  6. I usually let the tea ferment in room temperature for 10 days or until it tastes acidic and not sweet. If you want it less acidic, let it ferment for a shorter time.
  7. Now it's time for the second fermentation to make the kombucha fizzy! Remove the SCOBY and about 1-1 1/4 cup (2-3 dl) kombucha to be used in your next brew. You should have two SCOBYs by now, the "mother" and the new "baby". Use one of them in your next brew and give the other away,
  8. Pour the kombucha into bottles through a sieve with the help of a funnel. Add about 2/3-1 cup (1,5-2 dl) of fruit juice in every 1 litre bottle. My favourites so far are blood orange juice and grape juice. I also like to add some grated fresh ginger and a squeeze of lemon.
  9. Seal the bottles and put them in room temperature for about 2-3 days or until fizzy. Everyday during this time the lid has to be opened to release some pressure or the bottle might explode.
  10. Done! Store in the fridge. Enjoy!

*That much sugar!? I hear you say. Yes, don't panic. The sugar is needed for a fermentation to take place. It's food for the SCOBY and there won't be any sugar left in the finished kombucha if you let it ferment long enough.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Chocolate, Caramel & Peanut Butter Squares

THESE! Chocolate, caramel and peanut butter in one bite - can it get any better?

Now it's so cold here in Sweden and sometimes I just feel like I want to hibernate until it's warm again. But then I'm reminding myself of beautiful sunny and snowy winter days, and I wouldn't want to miss that after all. Now is also a very exciting time for me as I've recently started a new job which I really love so far. I am so ready for spring though!

Anyway, back to the cookies. They are totally vegan, totally healthy(ish) and totally delicious. Perfect with cup of tea whilst hibernating curled up on the couch with a good book.

If you have some dark chocolate laying around the kitchen you could melt that and put on the top instead of making the coconut oil chocolate in layer 3. Either way is super nice.


Chocolate, Caramel & Peanut Butter Squares

12 Small Cookies

Layer 1: Peanut
3 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 dl) rolled oats
1 fresh date, pitted
1 tbsp water
1 tsp coconut oil

1. Blend everything quickly in a food processor until the mixture is still a bit crumbly.
2. Press the dough into a small baking tin or bread tin. Use a tin in silicone, or a regular tin covered with parchment paper.

Layer 2: Caramel
1 cup (2 dl) fresh dates, pitted
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp water

1. Blend everything in a food processor until as smooth as possible.
2. Spread out on top of the peanut layer. Put the tin in the freezer.

Layer 3: Chocolate
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp raw cacao powder or regular cocoa powder

1. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the syrup and cacao. Mix thoroughly with a spoon until there are no lumps left.
2. Take out the tin from the freezer and spread the chocolate on top of the caramel layer.
3. Put the tin back into the freezer until the chocolate is solid. Then remove the cake from the tin and cut it in squares. Keep in the freezer.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Happy New Year + Resolutions + 2017 Mood Board

Happy new year!

I hope 2017 will bring you good times, lots of love and plenty of delicious food.

I'm not a super big fan of grand new year's resolutions (see my thoughts on the subject here), but I actually have quite a big resolution this year: To quit alcohol for the entire year. This is something I've wanted to do for quite some time, and now seems like the right time to do it. I'm definitely not a heavy drinker, but I sure enjoy some wine from time to time. Let's see if I can make this resolution stick!

Oh and I've made a mood board for 2017 in Pinterest. See it here.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Quick Chickpea & Banana Curry

I hope you've had an amazing Christmas! My Christmas was oh so nice but now I'm back home and that feels quite great too. It's a sunny and beautiful winter's day here today and I've spent the morning cuddling with my love, walking in the forest and drinking coffee and matcha. So nice to take things slow today ♥.

There's something so special and warming about a hot curry on cold days. This curry is super quick as you just put all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook them together for about 15 minutes. So simple! Serve it with some rice or crusty bread and enjoy.

I realise that this isn't the "proper" way to cook. I should begin with sautéing some onions and the veggies and then add the wet ingredients. But, honestly, who cares? This way I don't have to worry about burning the onions (I've never liked onions anyway) or choosing an oil which is heat stable (it's so much healthier to eat oils unheated). And this way is so much quicker and, to me, equally delicious. Make your own rules in the kitchen :)

Quick Chickpea & Banana Curry

Serves 2-4

1 red bell pepper
1 banana
1 can of chickpeas
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup (1 dl) extra creamy coconut milk
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp herbal salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Chili powder to taste

Chop the bell pepper and slice the banana. Rinse the chickpeas. Then put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook on low heat under a lid for about 10-15 minutes. Stir from time to time. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Christmas Chia Pudding

I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve! (Here in Sweden we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas day). I'm so so happy that I'm going to spend the entire Christmas weekend with my boyfriend and then we both have next week off from work. Woho!

Ok, so this chia pudding is the perfect breakfast or snack around Christmas as it's filled with Christmassy spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves. Chia seeds are also chock full of healthy fibres which will give your stomach a nice break from all the sugary Christmas treats.

Chia seeds have this amazing ability to absorb large amounts of liquid. So if you put chia seeds in some milk they will absorb all the liquid and you get a sort of healthy pudding. They are very bland in taste though, so make sure to add some flavours from spices, fruits, berries, cacao etc.

A Merry Merry Christmas to you all!

Christmas Chia Pudding

Serves 1-2

3 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup (2 dl) plant milk (I used oat)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of vanilla powder
1 tsp date syrup, maple syrup or coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)

Put all the ingredients in a glass jar. Put on the lid and shake thoroughly. Wait for a few minutes and shake again. Put the jar in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight (until all the milk is absorbed). Pour into a bowl and top with sliced fruit and/or berries. Enjoy!

... And listen to this!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Coffee & Chocolate Smoothie

Few things say "good morning" like coffee. I actually have an on-off relationship with coffee, but at the moment it's definitely on. After a week of crappy coffee at work, that cup of hot coffee at home on Saturday mornings tastes truly glorious. Today, though, I wanted to try and add my coffee to a smoothie instead, which turned out so delicious!

This smoothie contains a cup of cold coffee and also banana, dates, cacao... And with the addition of protein and healthy fats from hemp seeds and complex carbs from oats, this smoothie is a nutritious and quite filling start to the day. I used cold brewed coffee here, but chilled "normal" coffee works just as well.

Today we're only one week away from Christmas Eve! We have lots of snow here, and I hope it stays until Christmas. Last weekend my love and I did some serious Christmas baking. We made gingerbread cookies, saffron buns, sourdough Christmas bread and vegan butterscotch candies. So I guess we're almost ready for Christmas now♥.

Coffee & Chocolate Smoothie

Serves 1

1 cup (2 dl) cold coffee
1/2 cup (1 dl) plant milk (I used oat)
1 banana
2 fresh dates, pitted
1 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
2 tbsp rolled oats
Pinch of vanilla powder
Pinch of ground cardamom

Blend and enjoy!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Breakfast & Snack Inspiration

Hello and happy Sunday!

I have absolutely no new recipes to share as cooking has been super easy, quick and lazy lately. So here's some inspiration for breakfasts and snacks instead :)

First picture
Have you tried thinly sliced pear on peanut butter? My boyfriend came up with the idea and it's divine. Especially on his home-made bread rolls (yes, I'm super lucky ♥). Also with a side of spiced chocolate balls and tea. Always lots of tea.

Second picture
Smoothie bowl; my favourite breakfast ever. This was oat milk, hemp seeds, lemon juice, liquorice powder, banana and lots of frozen raspberries. And then topped with pumpkin seeds, goji berries, dried figs, raisins and cacao nibs. So so good! Also with a side of tea (of course) and some magazines. For more smoothie bowl inspo, click here, here, here, here, here, here and here.