Mediterranean Tofu Skewers

Hello and happy Monday!

The weather here in Zurich has been incredible – hot, sunny and all things summery – the perfect weather for barbecuing. One of my current favorites for throwing on the grill are these flavorsome tofu skewers – the recipe for which I came up with in collaboration with Migros, for their summer grill campaign (#grillitarier) 😉

I hope you enjoy!

Mediterranean Tofu Skewers

Makes ca. 9 skewers

Ingredients:

  • 400g tofu (2 x 200g blocks), cubed
  • 100g sundried tomatoes (in olive oil and herbs); drained
  • 100g green olives
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (from the jar of tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and cayenne pepper to season
  • 1 yellow bell pepper / veg of choice, sliced

Method:

  1. Prick the cubed tofu with a fork (this will help the marinade soak in more).
  2. Blend together the sundried tomatoes and olives, adding the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and seasoning.
  3. Coat the tofu cubes in the marinade, rubbing the marinade onto the tofu. Cover and leave in the fridge for a few hours (ideally overnight).
  4. Assemble skewers by alternating cubes of tofu and sliced vegetables and cook on a tray over the grill (top with extra marinade that has fallen off).
  5. Serve with sweet potato wedges, quinoa, salad, couscous or whatever your favorite BBQ sides are.

Enjoy!

xoxo

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Sweet Potato Nice Cream

Hello and happy Sunday!

One of my favorite things for staying cool in this hot weather is a serving of delicious, smooth and creamy, refreshing nice cream. I love how a frozen banana is pretty much all you need for a cooling and naturally sweet treat – but I also love experimenting with different flavors and fun ingredients.

Yesterday, for a post-workout meal I added some frozen sweet potato to my blender and ended up with a super satisfying, dessert-like concoction that left me with a big smile on my face. You can blend frozen sweet potato, frozen banana and cacao for a very simple version (with dates or maple syrup for extra sweetness), but below I’ll share with you exactly what I used.

I love the deep flavor the raw cacao powder gives this as well as the hint of fruity sweetness from the lucuma – the two powders complement each other perfectly and add extra goodness and nutrition to this already nutritious treat.*

Ingredients:

  • 150g sweet potato (cooked and frozen)
  • 1 ripe, frozen banana (mine was 130g)
  • 1.5 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 1/2 tbsp carob powder
  • ca. 1 tbsp rice mylk
  • optional: 1 tbsp maple syrup / 1-2 dates (for more sweetness)
  • optional: 1 tbsp pea protein
  • Toppings: berries, chocolate sauce, nut butter such as peanut or almond butter, jam

*I use “superfoods” from Iswari, because I love the taste and quality. You can get 5% off orders from Iswari Suisse with the discount code “blueberrysmiles” (Disclaimer: I earn a small commission on such orders). 

Method:

  1. Blend the frozen sweet potato and banana (and dates, if using), adding the mylk. (Depending on how powerful your blender is, you might have to let the frozen ingredients defrost a bit).
  2. Stir in all the other ingredients.
  3. Enjoy as is or with your desired toppings.

Variation

To make this more of a mousse, simply use a non-frozen banana and/or non-frozen sweet potato [as in the photo below]. For extra creaminess, stir in some nut butter 😉

I hope you enjoy!

xoxo

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Ultimate Banana Bread by Nourishing Amy

Hello and happy Sunday!

Today’s recipe is from my wonderful friend Amy from Nourishing Amy (@nourishing.amy) and I’m so happy to share it with you, because it’s epic.

There are arguably some recipes that we all should have in our repertoire and one of these is banana bread. We all need a good banana bread recipe for cold winter evenings and a cup of tea, just as much as for summer brunch outside, served with fresh fruit, and for that any-time-of-year moment when we realize those bananas just need to be eaten.

I’ve made this recipe several times and particularly enjoy making it before a trip (nothing better than a chocolate chip version of this moreish loaf on the train or plane 😉 ). It’s super simple, not requiring any outlandish ingredients or a special trip to the grocery store, and can easily be whipped up. It’s also a really great one to play around with – adding chocolate chips, peanut butter, fresh raspberries or all together, depending on what mood you’re in. I’ve also seen Amy do this recipe in muffin version, which always looks incredibly irresistible!

Without further ado, let’s get baking!

Nourishing Amy’s Ultimate Banana Bread

Ingredients:

WET

  • 3 large bananas (the riper the better)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (ground flaxseeds will work too)
  • 1/3 cup plant-based milk [I use rice, while Amy loves oat and almond]
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, or coconut honey

DRY

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar [I’ve also used raw cane sugar]
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour*

Optional: sliced banana for topping, ½ cup walnuts, dried fruits, chocolate chips etc. 
Optional: 1 tsp maca, lucuma

* I’ve also tried this with buckwheat flour, which worked really well too. Apparently plain flour also works well, although Amy doesn’t recommend wholemeal flour, as it was a bit too dry.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160Fan/180°C. line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. Mash the banana well in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add all the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  3. Leave for 5-10 minutes, then add in the dry ingredients together and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Add in ½ cup optional extras, if using. The mix will be very thick and seem ‘dry’ but this is perfect.
  5. Pour into loaf tin lined with baking paper, smooth over the top. Add sliced banana on top, if using.
  6. Bake for 30-40 mins, ovens vary, until the top is browning nicely and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Keep checking the cake very 5 mins if it’s not done and add some foil to cover if it is getting too dark on top.
  7. Leave to cool on a wire rack. After 10 mins, remove from the tin and peel away the parchment. Allow to cool fully before storing in an airtight container for up to 5 days. It freezes well in slices too.

To serve, eat as is, or slather on some peanut butter, chocolate and raspberry chia jam, as I like to do 😉

Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to check out Nourishing Amy for more plant-based goodness, wonderful recipes and lots of feel-good vibes!

xoxo

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Migros #Grillitarier Party

Hello and happy Sunday!

Summer is here and with it the BBQ season has started. Barbecuing is something I’ve always liked – who doesn’t enjoy soaking up the sun and spending time with family and friends while tantalizing scents of delicious food sizzling away on the grill waft through the summer breeze?? And this summer I’m seriously getting my grill on through a fun summer campaign launched by Migros. As a #grillitarier I’m loving coming up with plant-based ideas for the grill, using delicious Migros ingredients.

On Friday I had the pleasure of being invited to an amazing grill party hosted by Migros, which involved lots of food bloggers, fun and, of course, grilling! It was an absolutely stunning sunny summer evening up on the Uetliberg, and it could not have been more ideal for a barbecue. First we were treated to refreshing iced tea and nibbles (I loved the beetroot-hummus avocado slices) while getting to know the other bloggers and the lovely people from Migros. Then, we were let loose on a tempting array of fresh produce and ingredients – huge baskets of fruit and vegetables, meat and fish for the omnivores and tofu for the veggies – to make dinner with.

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Photo by @davidbiedert.

I loved the feeling that everyone was working together and bouncing off of each other’s ideas. We ended up eating our fabulous feast – various skewers, salads, grilled aubergine, stuffed peppers, hummus, guacamole and more – under a tent while listening to chilled live music.

My food favorite was probably the new Cornatur Algen Burger (a vegan burger made with algae). It’s a breaded patty and tastes a bit like fish sticks. I’ll definitely be buying it and really recommend giving it a try – as a burger or, like here, cut up and made into skewers along with aubergine and peppers.

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Photo by @davidbiedert.

And for dessert? This being Switzerland, the fondue pans came out 😀 We melted chocolate over the grill (one pot for milk chocolate and one for dark) for dipping in fruit skewers, while trying not to burn ourselves – or drop our phones into the fire!

My take-away from the evening (besides the goody bag with all the grill essentials one could need!): a strong reminder of how a barbecue offers something for everyone – from fully plant-based to the other end of the scale – and is such a relaxed and satisfying way to spend time with people and unwind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Hope you enjoyed reading and head over to the #grillitarier Website for all kinds of BBQ recipes, sweet and savory 😉

xoxo

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Photo by @davidbiedert.

London Vegan Guide (continued III)

Hello and happy Sunday!

After an extended weekend in London, I’m back with another post about awesome plant-based food in London. If you’ve missed my previous posts on vegan eating in London, feel free to check these out too:

As all my trips back to London, this one included catch-ups with friends over as much delicious vegan food as possible. I always have fun trying to fit in as many new places as possible, although there are always favorites I could go back to again and again.

Here are some further places I can warmly recommend:

The Blacksmith and the Toffeemaker

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How much more British can you get than a pub with a quirky name? This newly vegan pub near Angel has a special place in my heart, as I used to live 5 minutes away from it. I can’t tell you how many times I walked past it, and how gladly I would have stopped by for some vegan pub grub! (Probably this way turned out better for my wallet and waistline 😉 ).

All the items on the menu sound so tempting, from the “halloumi” kimchi burger and “mozzarella” sticks to the EPIC Green Mac N “Cheese” & Marinara Sauce Grilled “Cheese” Sandwich – this is serious comfort food! I absolutely fell in love with that sandwich and the bread (they get it fresh from a bakery) was so satisfying. I also tried the polenta fries, which were nice and crispy on the outside and soft (but just a tad bland) on the inside. Not exactly health food, but on the other hand it wasn’t very greasy and didn’t leave me feeling gross after. I definitely recommend! Maybe also stay for a pub quiz sometime? 😉

 

The Canvas Cafe 

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I found out about this cute little all-vegan place off of Brick Lane because of its freakshakes, and I’m so glad I fit it in my “schedule”. I’d just had an amazing vegan burger for lunch (next recommendation) and was feeling pretty full, not gonna lie, but I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I had the option of raspberry or blueberry (no surprise which one I went for), and was told the shakes are made of bananas, frozen fruit and a bit of sugar and topped with a brownie. This was quite a pleasant surprise, as I’d assumed they’d mostly be made from some sort of super-processed vegan ice cream. The smoothie tasted quite wholesome, not overly sweet, and the fudgy brownie really was the perfect cherry on top! The only regrets I have is being to full to have any of an insane-looking chocolate fudge layer cake (that we all agreed looked like the one Bruce Bogtrotter from Roald Dahl’s Matilda was forced to eat).

We sat outside in the little backyard and soaked up some sun. I found it a really cheerful place with friendly staff and amazing things on display – a great place to also just grab a coffee and little bite of something sweet. Another one I’d go back to again.

 

The Vurger Co

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Ok, now this isn’t technically new, as I’ve had these delicious plant-based burgers in the past from pop-ups and Wilderness festival, but this was my first time at the permanent location in Shoreditch that opened recently. There are four soul-satisfying burgers on the menu, although I’ve only ever tried one (it’s that good): the MLT ❤  This is a mushroom, borlotti bean and parsley patty with tomato, rocket, ketchup, cheeze and the best sundried tomato and walnut pesto and is IN-credible. I practically forced my carnivorous friend to try one and she admitted it was pretty darn good. They also serve fries (sweet potato and regular) as well as mac n cheese and coleslaw. If you’re craving something sweet, there is Miiro ice cream and housemade shakes – including an oreo one! If I hadn’t planned on having a freakshake after (see above), I would definitely have given this a try – maybe next time 😉

 

Yeotown Kitchen

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Ok, before you think this post is only about vegan “junk” food (which, I’ll admit, it kind of is) let me introduce you to a more nutritious place. Yeotown Kitchen in Marylebone is not vegan, but serves many vegan options in a relaxed environment. My friend and I went for breakfast, for which I had matcha pancakes (gluten-free) with banana, toasted walnuts, maple syrup, coconut yogurt and blueberries – divine! I also tried a pine pollen latte, which had a really mild, comforting flavor. The list of savory dishes also sounded super tempting – like the Power Poke Bowl (Hawaian style BBQ jackfruit, glazed aubergine, avocado, edamame, coriander roasted corn, cucumber, marinated seaweed, radish, shaved cabbage, nigella tomato and rocket with vegan poke turmeric dressing), lemon hummus and roasted vegetable sourdough panini or the vegan lentil burger.

This place not only nourishes your body, but also your mind, with its meditation pods on the lower floor. Here you can chill out after your meal and listen to guided meditation – how cool is that?

 

By Chloe

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This originally American restaurant/diner chain has finally come to London and of course I had to try it. (There is one in Covent Garden and one opening at Tower Bridge).

I’d heard good things about its burgers and mac n cheese, but I was honestly just too full from my burger and freakshake to verify these claims. Luckily they also have salads, so I got the Detox Kale salad from the grab-and-go section. It was just what I needed, but probably the least exciting thing on the menu, so I’d definitely recommend giving their signature dishes a go. My friend really liked his burger, and we both agreed that they had the best sweet potato fries ever!

 

Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner

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Ok, more fast food – I couldn’t help giving this place in Camden a try, as we just don’t get vegan food like this in Switzerland! My friend (check her out for more vegan food recommendations in London: @brixtonfoodfiend) and I went all out, ordering a hot dog, corn dogs, mac n cheese, the meat ball sub (their current special) and fries – a true vegan fast food feast! Although not something I’d generally be super tempted to try, the meat ball sub was SUPERB. The combo of (I’m guessing jackfruit-based) “meat”-balls on a soft roll with a delicious, flavorsome sauce and “parmesan” was just the dream – as were the fries. I can’t explain how good this was! My friend wasn’t too blown away by the hot dog, but those corn dogs were definitely something! (She also really enjoyed the mac n cheese, but personally I’d 100% say go to Wulf and Lamb for that cheesy pasta fix – trust me). This is definitely the place for some dirty vegan grub, and perfect for showing your skeptical friends how indulgent and unhealthy vegan food can be 😀

 

Pitch Coffee (at Dog House Fitness, Balham)

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On Sunday, my friend (@_lifeofleila) and I decided to go sweat it out in a boxing class at Dog House Fitness – and boy did we do that! This cardio-intense HIIT-style boxing class was an absolute killer, so we were in need of some serious refuelling after. Luckily there is a cute little health-food joint within the gym, where we were able to treat ourself to something nourishing and refreshing. I had an açai bowl with an iced oat mylk matcha – the perfect post-workout breakfast that wasn’t so filling as to ruin my appetite for burgers later 😉

The coffee shop is really relaxed and I can also recommend the gym itself (they do box, spin or stretch classes).

 

Crosstown Doughnut Cafe

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While, again, not technically new (I used to get the odd Crosstown donut at Leather Lane Market on a Friday, if the vegan ones weren’t already sold out), Crosstown recently opened a cafe with only vegan donuts, close to Selfridges. I went here for a relaxed breakfast on my last morning in London and enjoyed the peanut butter one with blackcurrant jam (the best bit was biting into the jammy center and having that epic PB&J flavor combo). I had my donut with some ginger-ginseng-lime tea from ZigZag, which was wonderful – I definitely need to stock up on some the next time I’m in the UK.

It was the perfect satisfying yet slightly naughty breakfast – and I really enjoyed chatting with the woman working there, exchanging recommendations for vegan food (her favorite is the Black Cat Cafe in Hackney – on my list!) and hearing about the local companies, such as ZigZag and Jarr Kombucha, that they work with.

Other places I went to that are in my previous recommendations are: Raw Press Co. (where I had a delicious PB&J smoothie bowl and pitaya rose latte, and picked up a healthy takeaway for the airport), Planet Organic (for a rainbow bowl, Moju Acerola shot and a cookie to eat in a park) and Whole Foods (still obsessed with their tofu!).

That’s it for this time – stay tuned for further recommendations, both in Zurich, Switzerland and back in London sometime in the hopefully-not-too-distant future.

Have a lovely evening!

Celine

 

Vegan Food in Salzburg

Hello and happy Sunday!

Last week my boyfriend and I made the most of a long weekend and took the train to Salzburg. We spent two nights in the beautiful Austrian city that is the birthplace of Mozart and the backdrop to some of my favorite scenes from The Sound of Music (I couldn’t help breaking into song until my boyfriend – who hasn’t seen the movie – was able to sing along too 😀 ).

True to my foodie nature, I picked out some vegan-friendly places I wanted to check out. Gabriel, my boyfriend, doesn’t even pretend to try and influence our choice of restaurant anymore – he simply asks me where we should go, and when one place was unexpectedly closed [to say I was disappointed to miss out on vegan Wiener Schnitzel and Knödel at Restaurant Milton is an understatement] he immediately asked me what else I knew (and yes, I did have a backup).

We weren’t there long, but I think we definitely made the most of the vegan foodie scene in between enjoying the cultural offerings of Salzburg. If you ever visit this city – which I definitely recommend for a short city break – you should seriously consider checking out these places:

The Green Garden

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This vegetarian place has a young and fresh vibe with quirky plants hanging down from the ceiling inside lampshades. Vegan options are clearly labeled and plentiful enough to ensure indecision. Gabriel went for a wrap while I had the asian buddha bowl – fresh greens, courgetti, avocado, pomegranate, sprouts, radish, seeds, two rice paper vegetable rolls and a delicious dressing – as well as the sweet potato sashimi. The “sashimi” was very intriguing and actually tasted a bit like sushi in combination with the pickled ginger and beetroot wasabi – we both agreed this was stunning. We had to wait a while for our food, as one of the servers had forgotten about one of the dishes, but it was all well worth the wait.

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For dessert we couldn’t resist (ok, mainly couldn’t resist) checking out the Green Garden vegan ice cream parlor right next to the cafe. I had a scoop of blueberry ice cream and a scoop of the best peanut ice cream I’ve ever had! Their ice cream is made with rice, coconut or oat milk and is full of flavor – Gabe enjoyed his more savory-tasting pumpkin seed one.

 

Spicy Spices

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This Indian organic restaurant-and-health food shop is the place to hit up for some good, honest veggie food. Nothing pretentious about it and it seem to operate like a canteen. Our food (dhal with veggies and basmati rice) was brought to us within minutes. They also have a variety of organic teas and juices – my boyfriend went for an unsweetened pomegranate juice, which made him pull a face while drinking 🙂 The guy serving us came several times to see if we were alright and even filled up Gabe’s plate a second time (no extra charge), after asking if he wanted some more.

After our meal I also bought us some Vivani chocolate bars from the store section. If we’d stayed in Salzburg longer I definitely would have come back here again for more Indian comfort food.

 

Heart of Joy Cafe

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This was one of the places I’d chosen for breakfast. I was quite interested by the variety on the menu – from vegan ham to superfood muesli, it caters to a range of vegan desires. I was about to go for porridge, following my boyfriend’s order, but made a snap decision to get one of the chocolate cupcakes displayed along with raw vegan cheesecakes and other goodies – a decision I certainly did not regret. It was wonderfully chocolatey and not sickly sweet – perfect with my oat mylk matcha latte, which was better than any of the recent ones I’ve had in Switzerland. Gabe was happy with his fruit-laden porridge, but had to adopt a competitive attitude to finish the whole thing (it was a very generous serving!).

I was also excited to see they sold my favorite Primal Pantry protein bars (I was addicted to these back in London). I couldn’t resist getting a cacao brownie one for snacking on at Hellbrunn Palace later that day.

 

Organic Pizza

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This place was not originally on my must-eat-at list, but I suggested it after we saw that Restaurant Milton was closed. While it by no means offered us the novelty of eating vegan Austrian food, it was a very satisfying meal all the same. They have a pizza menu with a section for vegan pizzas and offer regular or spelt and flax dough (which I went for – the lower one in the photo). The only minus points this place gets is due to the fact that it was understaffed – the poor guys working there barely had time to come over and let us pay, and had to clean cutlery by hand as they had run out. Definitely a good sign though, if a small pizza place like that is packed.

 

GustaV

 

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Last but by no means least: our last meal in Salzburg was breakfast at fully plant-based cafe GustaV. Overeagerly arriving 15 minutes before it opened (9 am on Saturday), we soaked up some sun at one of the tables outside while studying the menu. When I saw french toast, the path ahead was clear – while vegan pancakes are (thankfully!) becoming more common, vegan french toast is still somewhat of a rare find. Gabe ordered the muesli with a beetroot latte, which he waited to try until everything was set out and photos had been taken (I’m very impressed by how he’s gone from eye-rolling to actually taking my food photography somewhat seriously). I had a delicious oat mylk hot chocolate with my epic french toast that was topped with banana, apple, orange and maple syrup. Apparently they make a batter using lupin flour and water, then pan-fry the toasts. Definitely one to try at home kids 😉

Judging from the menu this is also a nice place to go for a light lunch – sandwiches, soups, salads and cake etc. I would have loved to try more here.

After GustaV’s we headed to the station and from there took the train to Innsbruck, where we spent a few hours wandering around the old town. The little health food places that I’d wanted to eat at were sadly closed, so we ended up going to Ludwig’s which is a burger joint with locations in both Innsbruck and Salzburg. We both had the vegan burger and sweet potato fries, which were nice, but not something I’d go especially out of my way to have. Back in Salzburg there is another burger place offering a vegan burger (Bio Burger Meister) which we passed, but didn’t try.

That’s it for this trip – as you can see, I really did try to make the most of every meal 😉 And I have to say, I found the options for plant-based eating in Salzburg very impressive.

I hope you enjoyed reading, and please let me know if you have any other recommendations for Salzburg!

xoxo

 

Protein Pancakes

Hello and happy Sunday!

Today I’m sharing with you my go-to post-workout protein pancakes. They’re simple to whip up and wonderfully nourishing, whether you’ve just had an intense workout or simply rolled out of bed! There is always a good excuse to have pancakes, in my opinion, any day of the week or time of day 🙂

While I don’t think protein powders are, by any means, a “must”, I enjoy using them in breakfast dishes for an extra boost of protein. I always go for unflavored ones and my favorite is pure rice protein – the one I used here is from Iswari – which is high in plant protein and has a versatile, neutral flavor.

I love having these topped with some sliced banana, berries and nut butter, also adding some chocolate or maple syrup (or both), for even more indulgence. Today I even made a white chocolate matcha sauce, which I didn’t measure exactly, but also describe below. Enjoy!

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PROTEIN PANCAKES

Serves 1 (makes 6-8 small pancakes)

Ingredients:

  • 85g buckwheat flour (wholemeal spelt should also work well)
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice protein (ca. 10 g)
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds (or chia seeds)
  • 1 tbsp ground lucuma
  • 200 ml rice milk (or another kind of plant milk)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • optional: some maple syrup, for sweetening
  • coconut oil, for cooking
  • desired toppings – I recommend bananas, berries or other fruit, nut butter and maple syrup, or my white chocolate matcha sauce (below); I also added some nutritious hemp seeds

Method:

  1. Mash the banana and combine with all the ingredients, save for the coconut oil (for a smoother texture, blend everything together). For more sweetness, add some maple syrup to the batter.
  2. Heat some coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan, reduce the heat slightly and do a tester (baby) pancake. This way you can see if you need to reduce or increase the heat – plus you get a little appetizer 😉
  3. Ladle a large spoonful of batter into the pan and cook on each side on medium heat for a minute or two (you’ll see bubbles start to form and the sides begin to cook through, before flipping); repeat until all the batter is used up.
  4. Serve with your toppings of choice and enjoy!

 

*Due to a collaboration with Iswari Switzerland you can get 5% off orders from iswari.ch using the discount code “blueberrysmiles” (I earn a small commission on such orders). I’m loving their products, from their raw chocolate to their “superfood” powders. If you don’t live in Switzerland, you can check out their global website.*

 

MATCHA WHITE CHOCOLATE SAUCE

I made this in a very experimental manner and didn’t record the exact measurements, but I started with:

I then added:

until I got a ganache-like texture, perfect for dolloping on top of my pancakes. It started to harden as it cooled, becoming more of a spread, which I’m storing in the fridge.

I hope you enjoy these pancakes, and let me know if you give them a go!

Celine

xoxo

 

 

Fluffy Cacao & Date Swirls

Hello and happy Sunday!

Baking with yeast is one of my absolute favorite things to do in the kitchen, for the simple reason that it’s so rewarding. Taking that extra bit of time (the rising!) and effort (the kneading!) is well worth it in my opinion, when you consider that sense of accomplishment of seeing your dough rise, and the delight of that first doughy bite (and all the next 😉 ).

Today I’m sharing a recipe with you for super soft swirl buns with a sweet cacao-date filling. They’re perfect for brunch or a snack – eaten as they are or with some nut butter on top 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

Makes: ca. 10 buns

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 465g Zopfmehl (this is a mix of plain white flour and spelt flour that the Swiss like to use for making the traditional platted loaf Zopf; if you can’t get this, I’d suggest mixing ca. 90% plain white flour with 10% spelt flour)
  • 15g cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 1/2 40g cube fresh yeast (room temperature)
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2.5 dl rice milk (or other plant-based milk)
  • 80g margarine; soft
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

Filling

  • 300g soft dates (I used the Sukari cooking ones from Palmyradelights.ch)
  • 6 tbsp peanut butter/ other nut butter
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 4.5 tbsp cacao powder 
  • 4.5 tbsp rice milk
  • optional: dark chocolate chunks, chopped nuts (e.g. pecans)

*Note: Due to a collaboration with Iswari you can get 5% off orders from iswari.ch using the discount code “blueberrysmiles” (I earn a small commission on such orders). I’m loving the quality of their products – from “superfood” powders to their unique mixes such as the Breakfast Protein. I linked the cacao and lucuma to the website as I used the Iswari products for this recipe.

Instructions

Dough

  1. Lightly heat up the rice milk so that it’s lukewarm (not hot), add 1 tbsp of maple syrup and crumble in the 1/2 cube of fresh yeast. Leave for a few minutes.
  2. Measure the flour and cacao into a large bowl, add the lucuma and mix well before adding the salt on the side (not mixing in, as you don’t want it to come in touch with the yeast yet). With your hand, create a well in the center of the bowl.
  3. Pour the yeast/rice milk/maple syrup mixture into the middle of the flour well, sprinkling a little bit of flour on top. Leave for ca. 5 to 10 minutes – you should see some bubbles form.
  4. Next, add in the margarine and the remaining 2 tbsp of maple syrup and mix together using your hands until it all comes together. Knead the dough until elastic (ideally it should stretch until almost transparent – if it breaks apart instead of stretching it needs some more kneading). It took me a good 15-20 minutes by hand (alternatively knead it by machine using a dough hook, for ca. 10 minutes on low).
  5. Shape the dough into a round, place in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm to rise for ca. 1 hour 45 minutes.
  6. Filling – Blend together the ingredients for the filling (dates, peanut butter, maple syrup, lucuma, cacao powder and rice milk) until a thick, sticky paste forms. (My dates were so soft I could just mash them with a fork and mix everything together without having to use extra equipment – always great when there’s less washing up to do 😉 ).
  7. The dough should have at least doubled in size. Punch the air out and roll it out to a rectangular shape. Spread the sticky cacao-date mix onto the dough evenly. At this stage you can also sprinkle some dark chocolate chunks and/or chopped nuts on top of the filling.
  8. Roll the dough inwards, starting from one of the longer sides of the rectangle, gently but also firmly, so that you form a compact log. With a sharp knife slice up the log into even slices and place these on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  9. Bake the swirl buns in an oven preheated to 200 °C for about 20 minutes (oven time may vary, so keep an eye on them. They should be lightly browned on the top and bottom, but still spring back a bit when you press the sides).
  10. Leave to cool on the baking tray and enjoy!

Happy Baking!

Celine

xoxo

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Plant-Based Eating – Zurich, Part II

Hello and happy Monday!

I’m finally back with some more plant-based food recommendations.

Work and moving has meant less time and energy for hobbies. But eating as much good plant-based food as possible is still very much a passion, so here are some more recommendations for vegan food in Zurich (for the first part of this series check out this post).

 

For every daySimply Soup

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This has become one of my favorite go-to’s for a quick & healthy lunch during the week. Their aim of making ‘delicious but healthy fast food available to everyone, everywhere at any time!‘ and their belief in fresh, seasonal andhomemade food definitely comes across in their dishes. Besides the obvious option of soup (always including a vegan choice, such as ‘lentil green-curry’ or ‘indian dhal saba’) they have salads, sandwiches and – the main attraction for me so far – their buddha-bowl style bowls. Currently they have a ‘Crunchy Kale Quinoa Bowl’ that I haven’t yet tried, as I’m too obsessed with the ‘Asian Soba Noodle Bowl’ (soba noodles, edamame, mango, avocado, carrots, broccoli, sesame seeds and a wonderfully flavorful sweet tahini dressing). They also sell delicious sweet snacks by Joeli’s (@hellojoelis) in cute little tubs: Raw Brownie Bites, Coco Kisses and Cacao Energy Balls (super yummy and they went down well with my work colleagues).

I like the bright interior, the positive and healthy vibe and the fact that Simply Soup is active on social media so you can always see what’s going on and what new items they have

Locations: There is one near the tram station Kalkbreite/Wiedikon (Kalkbreitestrasse 10), one near Stauffacher (Hallwylstrasse 24) and the most central one at Pelikanstrasse 19 (haven’t been to that one yet).

 

For special occasionsMarktküche

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For vegan haute cuisine/fine dining this place is a MUST! All-vegan and all out amazing, this place is worth the hefty price tag. I took my boyfriend here to celebrate getting the job I wanted, and we were in heaven eating 5 courses of beautifully arranged dishes that were absolutely bursting with creativity and flavor. The service reflected the high quality of the place and added to our experience. If you’re visiting Zurich or have something to celebrate definitely make a reservation and let yourself be delighted by the amazing combinations of tastes and textures. (On the last Friday of every month they’re also open for lunch).

Location: Feldstrasse 98 (near Bäckeranlage)

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Vegan buffetVegelateria (The Sacred)

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I first found out about this fully vegan eatery and gelateria (!) via my HappyCow App, but only ended up going when one of my work colleagues mentioned it recently. Once there I kicked myself for not going earlier – this place is like a less stylish version of trendy vegetarian eatery Hiltl, but more exciting. The buffet is fully vegan and, while smaller than the one at Hiltl, has all kinds of interesting dishes (once you’ve been to Hiltl a few times, you tend to recognize most things). I was in heaven walking around, deciding which items to pick and piling a bit of everything on my plate. A serious highlight was also the chocolate truffle I got for dessert – the most satisfying chocolately experience I can remember. There are also cheesecakes and all kinds of other sweet treats, not to mention a large array of vegan ice creamsthat I can’t wait to try, now that the weather has gotten warmer.

Location: Müllerstrasse 64 (near Helvetiaplatz)

 

Le Cèdre

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If you like Lebanese food, you should definitely give this a go. This place is quite well-known, and I’ve been loving it since before going plant-based. I went there again recently after my graduation ceremony, and was hit again by just how delicious everything is. There are many nice Lebanese places in Zurich, but this is the best in my eyes. My favorite thing is to order vegetarian mezze (most of it vegan, and they’ll tell you which ones are not) to share and then feast on the creamiest hummus, delicious falafel, moutabel etc. Be sure to make a reservation, to be on the safe side.

Locations: one near the tram stop Bellevue (Schifflände 5) and one near the stop Bezirksgebäude (Badenerstrasse 78)

 

Neni 

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Now while Le Cèdre (above) is definitely the place to go to for Lebanese food, I have to mention the delicious (!) hummus and falafels I had at the Neni (within the 25hours hotel Zurich). Some friends and I originally went there because we’d heard they do a great, veggie-friendly brunch. To me the brunch (around CHF 36) looked like a typical European hotel brunch, with Zopf, butter and jam, cheeses and meats, and I would have struggled to get a proper meal in. Luckily we were there just in time for the lunch menu (around 11.30 am), and we all ended up going for hummus and falafels while sharing super satisfying and crispy sweet potato fries. While I’d not specifically recommend it for brunch, the lunch dishes we tried were so delicious and I’d definitely order them again!

Locations: Zürich West (Pfingstweidstrasse 102; near the Toni-Areal) and Langstrasse 150

 

Vegan PizzaAvanti

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This (from the outside) not extremely impressive-looking Italian joint was a completely accidental discovery. When I was driving into Zurich to bring more of my things to my new place, we took a wrong turn. Somewhat grumpy by that point, my mood immediately changed for the better when I saw the words „vegan pizza“ – all irritation at the traffic and false turns vanished as I delighted at the prospect of a new place to try. I went there on Friday evening around 8 pm and was surprised to see the place completely crowded, with young couples and groups of friends sitting in the tiny dimly-lit restaurant, the TV on in the background, and a queue of people ordering takeaway while an authentically rotund, Italian-looking guy was preparing pizza after pizza. I was so impressed that this (non-vegan) Italian place had specifically designated vegan options. I went for a vegan vegetable pizza (they use a soy-based cheese) and enjoyed every bite. While no Pickywops or Fed by Watersensation you can get in London, this is definitely the place to hit up in Zurich for pizza cravings – both vegan and regular.

Location: Stationsstrasse 1 (near Kalkbreite/Wiedikon)

 

That’s it for part II of my Zurich recommendations – as vegan options are becoming more and more widespread here, I’m sure I’ll be back with another part in the not-too-distant future

Have a lovely evening and a great start to the week!

Celine

xoxo

Banana Breakfast Bars

Hello and happy Saturday evening!

It’s my first weekend in my new place and of course I couldn’t wait to test out my new oven 😉

As part of an ongoing collaboration with health food company Iswari (if you’re not in Switzerland, check them out here) I’ve been trying some more tasty products, one of which inspired me to make these delicious and nutritious breakfast bars.

The “Super Oats Banana Bliss” (Gekeimter Hafer Banane & Kakao in German) is made up of gluten-free raw sprouted oats, ground buckwheat, powdered lucuma, banana powder, ground almonds, cacao beans, activated buckwheat and blackberries and is such a tasty mix! I love that it’s only made from wholesome ingredients and is packed with so much flavor and nutrition. You can also add liquid to it and create an instant porridge.

Variation: If you can’t get your hands on this product, the recipe should also work with the same amount of dry ingredients, such as a mix of ground and whole oats, buckwheat flour, ground almonds, lucuma etc, but may not have quite the same depth of flavor. I’ll probably experiment with this when I run out (which is bound to happen very soon), so I’ll keep you updated 😉

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Makes: 9 small bars

Ingredients:

  • 200 g Super Oats Banana Bliss* (/for non-Swiss residents: see here)
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 100 g soft dates, mashed or blended
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 heaped tbsp tahini
  • generous pinch of cinnamon

* If you’re thinking of ordering this and live in Switzerland you can get 5% off (as well as on any other Iswari products) with the discount code “blueberrysmiles”. [I get a small commission on any orders placed with this code. I only promote brands and products that I genuinely love and would recommend to friends]. 

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together (if your dates are soft enough, you can just mash them in, meaning you only need to use one bowl).
  2. Spread the mixture into a loaf tin lined with baking paper (it won’t fill the whole one, but that’s fine as the mixture is firm) and bake in an oven preheated to 180 °C for ca. 15 minutes. Depending on the thickness, the oven time may vary – you’re looking for the bake to spring back when you touch it.
  3. Leave to cool for a bit before removing from the tin and cutting into bars.

Tip: they’re even better with some tahini slathered on top 😉

Enjoy!

xoxo

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