making milk from nuts

It is almost too easy.

You can use any kind of nut. You can also use seeds. You can add a pinch of salt or perhaps some vanilla, but you really don't need to. Almonds are my favourite for nut milk - just the flavour of the almonds and nothing else. I like to drown my granola in it, or use it in buckwheat pancakes and cakes. I particularly like it in a smoothie with a frozen banana, a couple of Medjool dates and some cacao.

Although my mother is allergic to cow's milk (I always says that she is lactose intolerant and she always reminds me that she is in fact allergic), I have been lucky. I have no problem with it and it keeps my coffee company every morning. That said, if you drink nut milk for the taste (like I do), or if you drink it because it likes your body much more than dairy does, homemade is the way to go.

I usually make small batches as fresh nut milk keeps in the fridge for only 3 (and my fridge always has cow's milk and sometimes goat's milk so the almond milk has a little bit of competition). Just the double the recipe if you wish.

Almond Milk

makes 2 cups


1/2 cup almonds
2 cups water

Soak the almonds (or nut of your choice) in water overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse. If you wish, peel the almonds (this will make them easier to digest and even healthier; however, it is quite time consuming).

In a blender or with a hand blender, blend together the almonds with 2 cups of water. Line a pitcher with a cheesecloth, a sieve, or a nut-milk bag (you can even use pantyhose!) and then pour the nut milk into the pitcher. Squeeze the cloth so that all the milk falls into the pitcher. Transfer to a bottle and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

With the leftover almond pulp, use it instead of flour the next time you bake. You can use it to make crackers or even hummus. Store it in the fridge (for about a week) or in the freezer (for a few months).



maple turkey breakfast sausages

Maple and turkey belong together just like breakfast and sausages. Although I am living in Bavaria - the German state famous for its breakfast specialty of Weisswurst with sweet mustard and a pretzel - I hardly ever eat sausages for breakfast. I blame it on the fact that I am Canadian. I grew up with special breakfast sausages of the smaller and sweeter variety, the type of sausages that no traditional here in Munich would serve.

Although the Weisswurst is somewhat sweet, it is the main feature and the mustard and pretzel play merely supporting roles. Maple turkey breakfast sausages, on the other hand, are supposed to only play a supporting role to the eggs and toast and beans one might find on a Canadian breakfast plate. However, like the Weisswurst the maple turkey sausages steal all of the attention. They may be smaller than their Bavarian counterpart, but boy do they make up for their size with their combination of sweet and spicy. What I mean to say is that these are really, really good. I mean they better be if I am going to make homemade sausages in a sausage-obsessed country. Seriously. Go make these.

Maple Turkey Breakfast Sausages

adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow's 'Notes From My Kitchen Table'


1 tsp fennel seeds
a generous pinch of crushed chillies
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a generous pinch of coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
fresh thyme
250g finely minced turkey
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
oil for frying (virgin olive oil, ghee etc.)

With a mortar and pestle smash together the fennel seeds, crushed chillies, cayenne, salt and pepper.

In a mixing bowl mix together the minced turkey, spice mixture, sage, thyme and maple syrup. Use a spoon or your hands to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.

Form the mixture into small patties shaped like sausages, about 10-12 patties. Heat the cooking oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the sausages for about 1-2 minutes on each side (depending on the size of the patties and the heat of the pan). Serve warm.



a week of breakfast II

My love affair with making breakfast goes on and on and on, so I thought that I would again share my breakfasts from last week. Weekends are usually when pancakes and dishes for two make their appearance as I have someone special to share breakfast with (other than books). Weekdays are for healthy smoothies (and chocolate shakes) and making things from scratch.

These pictures make it hard for me to believe that I did a cleanse that week (minus the weekend, of course). I am now convinced that detoxing can be delicious as long as one has lots of fresh fruit, a blender, and some creativity in the kitchen.

A week of breakfast II

a bowl of oranges and pomegranate seeds

white grapefruit, blood orange, toasted pumpkin seeds, parsley and ginger-bay-lime syrup

a fried egg on polenta with parsley and parmesan

oatmeal with cinnamon, apple and homemade almond milk

a green smoothie with bee pollen

chocolate breakfast milkshakes with avocado, banana and cacao

rice cakes with homemade sunflower seed butter

lemon-yogurt pancakes with cardamom



a sexier bircher muesli

It took me a long time to become convinced that Bircher Muesli is worth eating. To be honest, I have always been skeptical towards muesli in general. Uncooked oats? No thanks. I am much more of a granola girl. Uncooked oats soaked in apple juice, water or milk? Really, I honestly rather eat granola. To me Bircher Muesli always sounded like soggy oats and who likes soggy oats? Well, after braving it in at a few restaurants I learned that soggy is not the right adjective. Delightful and juicy are much better.

Classic Bircher Muesli entails soaking rolled oats overnight (in apple juice, water, milk, or yogurt as well as some grated apple) and then adding your choice of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and fresh fruit. You really can add anything - from vanilla to poached pears, from pumpkin seeds to flax seeds, from lime juice to orange zest and from honey to agave syrup. Bircher Muesli is a blank slate. Go wild.

That said, my recipe is not for traditional Bircher Muesli. It is based on a breakfast treat that spoiled me each morning for two weeks at the Taj Mahal in Mumbai. This is a sexier Bircher Muesli. Let's say that regular Bircher Muesli is like a pair of leggings and this version is like a pair of leather pants. It uses roasted amaranth instead of oats and coconut milk instead of apple juice. It is creamy, it is rich, it is indulgent and it is addictive. Feel free to change the recipe to suit your tastes; however, please keep the amaranth, the coconut milk and the spices.

Bircher Muesli with Amaranth and Coconut Milk

inspired by the Taj Mahal, Mumbai

serves 2


1 cup roasted amaranth
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 apple, grated
3 tbsp flax seeds
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon


dried apricots (preferably without sulphates)
physalis (cape gooseberries)

In a bowl mix together the roasted amaranth, coconut milk, apple, flax seeds, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon. Cover and put the bowl in the fridge and leave there overnight.

In the morning add the chopped dried fruit and nuts. If it tastes a little too dry, add more coconut milk to taste. Top with physalis and more chopped nuts.



india in bloom

I have appropriated the name of one of my favorite blogs for this post as it describes much of what I saw in India to a tee. India is certainly in bloom (and not just booming as the news reports). Flowers are seriously everywhere. These petaled beauties made frequent appearances in ancient Indian literature and they continue to appear in contemporary society today. Everywhere. They are sold outside of temples and then used in Hindu rituals and pujas. I even saw a monkey eating them and a dog wearing them. I've seen cars dressed in fresh flowers and tress dressed in garlands of dried ones.

A lot of the flowers that one sees are marigolds, but other types always end up in the mix. However, both the dog and the monkey seem to have been able to find some of the few garlands without marigolds. The garlands are practical for travelers as well as as they do not require one to lug around a vase. They are also a nice way for hotels to greet guests.

Large cities have wholesale markets where marigolds and their cousins spill out into the streets. In Mumbai there is the Dadar Flower Market. Foolishly I never visited, but to my defense it opens at 4am and disappears around 8am. Also, it gives me an excuse to go back to visit. If you ever have a flight that arrives in Mumbai early in the morning, you might want to ask the taxi driver to swing by the flower market on your way into town.

I have always been one for fresh flowers and plants. Spending time in India has only strengthened this. My apartment in Munich is currently dotted with glasses and jars with flowers. They help to keep the winter blues away. I may not yet have a green thumb, but Munich has no shortage of cut flowers to tied me over until I finally manage to grow one.


a week of breakfast

I think by now it is quite obvious that breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. When I was living in Berlin my sister came to visit. I made us sweet potato hash and fresh smoothies. We made pancakes and poached eggs. We ate good German breads and cheeses. This was all in the morning before she went off exploring and I went off to work. We're talking breakfast and not brunch. "Do you eat breakfast like this every morning," she asked. Well, yes. I once worked at a restaurant whose motto is that life is too short for bad burgers. I feel the same way about breakfast.

I may have books to read and texts to write, but this past week I have mostly focused on getting my groove back in the kitchen. And what a delicious week it was. I thought that I would share some of my breakfasts. A recipe or two will follow next week.

A Week of Breakfast

bircher muesli with amaranth and coconut milk

homemade banana bread with coconut oil and dark chocolate

homemade granola with olive oil, maple syrup, goji berries, almonds and pumpkin seeds

baked apples stuffed with wheat berries, dried cranberries and almonds

quinoa with nuts, dried fruit, cape gooseberries and maple syrup

fried eggs and potato hash

a poached egg on arugula with a parmesan and anchovy dressing

May your weekend be delicious!


hello winter, hello citrus

Hello Munich. You may be icy and you may require me to wear at least two pairs of socks; however, there is something to be said about how the snow falls on your buildings and trees and how it looks from my apartment.

In India I experienced a winter of sorts. I learned that Delhi's temperatures can drop to just above zero. I also learned that people in Delhi do not heat their homes. It really only gets cold at night and it really only gets cold for five weeks or so. Still, this knowledge had me composing romantic poems to indoor heating on my flight back to Munich. I knew that I was returning to freezing temperatures, but I also knew that I was returning to indoor heating.

Plus, winter means citrus season. Don't you just love nature? It surely gives us citrus as a way to brighten up winter.

After four months of eating food prepared by others, my kitchen and I are getting are groove back. I had some wonderful meals in India (which I plan to share in the coming weeks), but I also realized that I truly like cooking as much as I like eating. I am interested in processes. I like watching sage go from soft to crispy as it cooks in butter. I like kneading dough and then seeing it rise. I like filling the kettle with water and then hearing its whistle. I like peeling oranges and then licking the juice off my fingers.

Like a lot of the food I write about, this is less of a recipe and more of a formula. Blood oranges with honey and pistachios. The name alone tells you what to do. There are minor processes involved, but this is almost as simple as delicious gets. Plus, the processes entail licking juice off or your fingers, or snacking on pistachios while you chop. Make as much or as little as you want. Just make sure you use at least two oranges. One is just not enough. Also, the blood orange season is short so take full advantage while you can.

This makes a nice snack or dessert.

Blood Oranges with Honey and Pistachios


2 blood oranges
a handful of pistachios
honey, to taste

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Roughly chop the pistachios and place them in a small baking dish. Roast the pistachios for about 10 minutes.

While the pistachios roast, cut off the tops and ends of the oranges. Peel them and then cut them into thin slices. Arrange on a plate. Squeeze the peels of any remaining juice over the oranges.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm as much honey as you desire.

Assemble. Top the sliced oranges with the pistachios and then drizzle with warm honey.


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