On New Year’s Eve

Three Swiss rolls, I threw one. The very fluffy cake resembling angel cake was too fragile for the nutella I used as a filling. The vanilla cake filled with orange marmelade and the slighty more sturdy cacao cake surviving the nutella filling, both made it. After seven years of trinity, 2019 will be the year of duality. I associate it with my two daughters of whom one has now left the nest. The dark cacao and cream white vanilla are like yin and yang. The filling representing the opposing dots. Glad I fucked that up. I hear my American hero speak when I say this to myself. White whipped cream looks better in the cacao cake. And a dark colored jam is better in the vanilla cake. However now a fine dusting of soft icing sugar delivers a nice contrast. During the process a Swiss client arrives at the B&B. I tell him about the Swiss rolls. He smiles. This is before we find out that the B&B is overbooked. The plentiness of the last day of the year versus he and his wife being relocated. They take it very calm. Although he made this NYE booking already in April. I feel bad for them. One Swiss roll down.
Why does the Christian church and in particular one located in a quaint Mediterranean town showcases so much gold, glitter and shine? I don’t get it. My refuge in Northern European Amsterdam was the warm but austere yoga studio of a very special Indian guru. His name signifies ‘nothing’. I remember him being angry with the world around him as he actively takes a stand for modesty, sincerity and self empowerment. If there’s one soul in the world as it is known to me, who taught me stuff, it’s him. Not because he is perfect. Quite the opposite, his flaws showed me more then his achievements. He cursed. He disclosed of not being intimate with his dear partner. He once fasted so exaggeratedly for many months in a row that he fell sick and ‘left’ us, his groupies, hanging. But he allowed me to cry. He allowed me in the shadows of his cellar, to assert myself again. Dedication grew slowly. Tears washing away emotions, creating space. Space for love, space for loving myself.
Meeting the love of my life is a direct consequence of those five years culminating in yoga every f#*ing day. Yoga to cope with daily life. Yoga to open up. Yoga to surrender. Yoga to regain completely forgotten strength. I owe it to this special Indian man who grew up in Kenia, lived in London and who played cricket professionally the better part of his life, that I crossed the globe to stand next to a man. Feeling strong and right and up to supporting this man in the things he needed. The mission was the biggest challenge I’d ever undertake. Yet it felt as the most natural thing I ever did, do and will ever do. Thank you Anil. For getting me to that point. What happened after is my responsability. I think there couldn’t have been more that I did wrong then everything I did for this man. My American hero in no time was to be the one saving me, instead of the other way around. And I even imagined that it was saving me what he needed, to gain the confidence to strive and perpetuate for his own sake. What a mess. And how grateful I am to have had the chance to experience all of it. It has embedded me In Love.
I’ve learned three things.
1. Happiness doesn’t come with struggle

2. Happiness is right in front of me

3. To be loved
Unlike the Swiss rolls at this last day of the year, I won’t discart any of the three lessons. Holy trinity or Taoist dualism? Leaves me to break my mind over all that gold, those glitters, the brilliant shine, a church, a place of worship and dedication…
I told my mum, because she’s the one who gets me to churches. It’s her houses. I talk to her in a church, silently, without words. Often it smells nice, I can kneel for her and close my eyes. Tonight the last night of the year I told her: ‘You see mum, I can’t do it without you’. I have to fail. To show you that I love you and miss you’. I was struck by the thought. And then I lingered a long while over her painful thoughts I assume she’s had. Her sense of failure. Her disconnection. Her blacker then black. The well known black holes in our personal universes, vacuums, out there to draw us in. To make us dissapear in realms the scientists can’t explain. I asked myself if for her and my soul it does really make a difference that she’s dead and I am alive. I thought not. Which means maybe that I identify with her. I want to join her in her suffering, to alleviate it. To feel the connection with her. Please explain to me the gold, the glitter and the shine.

Old to New – 1 January 2018 


Taking the old and worn, full of intense flavours. It’s sweetness gone stale; it’s texture trodden, sucked, torn. Take it, don’t throw it. Arouse it, water it, nurture it with new milky fluid, soft yellow yolk, spice it up with lemon zest and sugar. Baby Sugar Me as Lindsey De Paul sang in 1972:

Save me, save me

Baby, baby sugar me

Gotta get my candy free

Sugar me by day

Sugar me my baby, baby sugar me

Gotta get my candy free

Sugar me by day, sugar me by night

Sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar

It’s 10 am, first of January 2018. I find myself in the kitchen. The newest morning of the year. After the most worn out night of the foregone one. I am not fully aware of the symbolic thing I intuitively do. I like to loose my conscious mind in the kitchen. And just do it. Sometimes a bit frantic. Sometimes thoughtful and slow. It’s like making love. And that’s what it tastes like:
Muffin tray

Diary butter

The Italian pannetone that is still in the fridge/colorful box/back of a shelf

3 cups milk

2 eggs

1/3 cup sugar

Lemon zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven at 150 C

Mix eggs, milk, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl

Dice 4 cups of the pannetone – any kind of old bread or cake will do actually

Butter the individual muffin holes generously

Fill the holes with the diced pannetone

Poor the egg/milk mixture on top of it, spreading evenly

Press the diced cake down in the liquid

Take bits of butter and place them on top of each individual mixture

Place muffin tray in the preheated oven and immediately lower the temperature to 120-130 C

Set alarm for 1.5 hours, take it out, let it cool

Cut individual pain perdu’s loose and lift them cautiously out of muffin tray

Sprinkle with sugar / icing sugar / lemon zest

Garnish with fruit, cream, custard, cinnamon or nothing at all
Happy 365 Chances to New Beginnings. Just Don’t You Cut the Root!

Series II: Fucking Complicated


Fantasizing about Blue Almond Iced Tea. I’ve got the clitoria flower! It’s a dried product mainly used in Thailand for making tea and coloring blue rice. It’s the only natural genuine blue food coloring. Blue berries being discarted as too purple and algae as too greenish blue. Clitoria flower is blue as in blue. I realize the Blue Almond Iced Tea has got to wait. It’s time for Sea Water Petits Ronds, delightful desserts where I got the clitoria flower for in the first place. And yes the name clitoria comes from where you think it comes from. No wonder they not only turn my raw cakes magnificent blue but also, let’s call it sexy.

The recipe reminds me of one of the most complicated dessert recipes I have ever made. I was only in my early twenties, following precisely the directions as prescribed and pictured in the recipe book Desserts from the Time Life cookery book series. God they were ahead of their time with the step by step visual instructions. I’ve been brought up with Time Life, I realize now. The recipe was for the authentic British trifle, champagne syllabub included. It took several days to make it. I never felt as proud as I did when it all came out exactly like the pictures.

The recipe for Sea Water Petits Ronds is as complicated and lengthy as the trifle I made 25 years ago, much less traditional; other side of the culinary universe actually. It involves no cooking, no diary, no animal products at all, no refined sugar, no gluten and no artificial flavoring nor coloring. I wonder how we ended up being so discriminative in the kitchen. Is it all because of our precious health and that of our planet? Or do humans in general like to be difficult? I don’t know. I do know I get excited by the thought of creamy, smashing blue, sweet and slightly salty, raw, plant based, guilt free, individual cakes that remind me of feeling blue or make me long for a beach in Boracay, Philippines.

Sea Water Petits Ronds


Day 1 morning

Step 1.

2 cups raw almonds, roughly chopped

2 cups water

Soak for 4 hours at least
Day 1 evening

Step 2.

after 4 hours, discard almond water and divide almonds evenly over oven tray lined with baking sheet

Set the oven to 45 C

Hydrate overnight, at least 12 hours

This process is called activating. Nuts are nice when roasted. But then they’re no longer raw and according to some, have lost some of their nutrious properties. Dehydrating them in a temperature under 48 C keeps them ‘raw’ (enzymes don’t die) and makes them slightly crunchy
Step 3.

Take 1 cup dried chickpeas and 3 cups water

Soak overnight
Step 4.

cut 12 rounds of baking sheet in exactly the shape of muffin tray bottoms only

cut 12 strips of baking sheet 3 cm wide, 12 cm long

Align muffin tray with the strips, 1 per hole and rounds on top of it. Make sure either side of the strips stick out from the holes

The crust will be pressed on top of the strip and the round. This is to make sure you can take the individual cakes once they’re done out of the tray without using a knife or having to damage the shape
Day 2 morning

Step 5.

Drain chickpeas, transfer to a pot, add twice the quantity of water and bring to the boil.

Simmer for 2 hours or until chickpeas are done
Step 6.

Drain chickpeas, saving the cooking liquid

Store cooked chickpeas to be used in another recipe

Bring cooking liquid back to boil adding a tbsp of dried clitoria flower / pea flower tea, turning it blue

Let the blue aqua fava (literally meaning, bean water) cool down completely
Step 7.

Grind 1 cup of the almonds in coffee grinder or heavy duty food processor into almond butter

It will first crumbe, hence turn into meal, keep on grinding, pauze every now and then to give appliance a break and not overheating it, keep on going until a clump is formed. Keep on going and it will turn into butter

Step 8.
Make crust by combining 1 cup regular pitted dates, roughly chopped, 1 cup medjool dates, roughly chopped, the other 1 cup of activated almonds, chopped finely. Form 12 balls the size of a ping pong ball, rolling between the palms of your hands
Step 9.

Firmly press balls into discs in bottoms of the muffin tray. Place tray in fridge until further notice
Day 2 evening

Step 10.

1 cup pea flower / clitoria flower blue aqua fava

1 cup activated almond butter

1 cup cream of coconut

1/2 cup brown rice malt sirup.

Mix blue aqua fava with handmixer on high speed for 3-5 minutes until stiff peaks are formed resembling egg white merengue

Step 11.

Make the Salty Sea water cake mixture

Mix in a separate bowl almond butter and cream of coconut, add rice malt sirup. Slowly fold stiffened aqua fava through almond butter mixture, in three badges. Once mixed, make sure to use it right away

Step 12.

Take the muffin tray from the fridge and fill up the individual holes with the Salty Sea water cake mixture. Place in freezer. Freeze overnight.

Day 3 anytime


Step 13.

To serve the cakes, dip the whole tray with it’s bottom in water (fill a shallow oven tray with just a few centimeter of luke warm water and place the muffin tray in there for 15 seconds). Pull at the baking sheet strips to gently lift the cakes one by one. Peel off the baking sheet rounds from the bottoms of the crust, can be tricky, be patient and careful.

Step 14.

Sprinkle the cakes with grapefruit zest and serve with sweet or sweetened fruit. I’d opt for grapefruit sweetened with maple sirup or ripe mango.

Congratulations guys. You’ve made it. Recipe for blue almond milk iced tea is next. Will be part of the KiSS series: Keep It Stupid and Simple, again. Pfffft!
Mise en place

2 cups raw deskinned almonds, coarsely chopped

1 cup dried chick peas

Baking sheet

Scissors

Muffin tray

1 tbsp Pea flower tea / dried clitoria flower

Coffee grinder or heavy duty food processor (1000 Watt min)

1 cup regular pitted dates, chopped

1 cup medjool dates, depitted and chopped

Handheld mixer or Kitchenaid

1 cup cream of coconut

1/2 cup brown rice malt sirup

Zest of 1 grapefruit

2 cups of grapefruit particles sweetened with maple sirup or brown rice malt sirup / ripe mango

KiSS series, nr 1


Something that doesn’t sound sexy at all. Not so much the word itself. Rather it’s association with a certain timeless salty sour, slightly bitter and harsh flavor. It’s consistency equals this sensation. Which is quite the opposite of smooth, pleasant in the mouth or softly touching my lips. It’s Jurassic like crocodiles, perky like cactusses and often cold, damp cold. Are we talking about food? Yes! And about everything it beholds: nutrition, pleasure, connection, warmth, taking care, paying attention, surprise and a whole lot of dedication. All at the same time, preferably. 
In no two different culinary traditions it’s done the same way. But I dare say that each and every culinary tradition does know it’s own variation of the art of pickling. Maybe eskimo’s and Tibetans have been able to stay away from it, thanks to their fridge-worthy surroundings. The rest of the world needed methods to conserve their precious food. 
A quarter of one cauliflower head, cut in the small roses, the size of cashew nuts, is to be transferred into a glass confit jar. It’s nice to use an authentic one, with orange rubber lining to secure keeping the jar air tight. But a former jam jar works just as well for these quick pickling methods. Add a six centimeter strip of orange peel to it. The jars I use contain 500 ml. But you can use any size. Then measure half of the content, in my case 250 ml, apple cider vinegar and the other half, 250 ml plain water and heat in a pot. Add a generous tablespoon of sugar and a generous tablespoon of salt. Heat until the salt and sugar are dissolved and the liquid is at the verge of boiling. Then take it from the heat and carefully poor it over the cauliflower in the glass jar. Close lid. Let it cool. Place in the fridge for 24 hours. After which it is ready to use although it can be kept pretty much timelessly. The hot liquid quick pickling method I prefer for hard vegetables like roots and cabbages or watermelon rind. The same conjunction of vinegar, water, salt and sugar can be poored cold as is, over soft vegetables like zucchini, cucumber or onion. What I like about quick pickling is that it’s so easy. Already after 24 hours, you can enjoy your very homemade pickles. To all handsome ladies and smart guys in the kitchen my message here is: ‘please don’t forget to KISS’, in other words, Keep It Stupid and Simple