Raw Carrot Cake for the Easter Bunny

raw carrot cake2The Easter Bunny told me he was jealous. Jealous because at Christmas, children leave cookies out for Santa Claus when he brings presents. He also brings presents, or at least chocolate, he told me – but rarely finds anything waiting for him beyond the occasional carrot with a ribbon…

Would I make something special for him? Something with carrots (of course) and healthy enough so he wouldn’t end up looking like Santa Claus but still tasty enough to be more exciting than a carrot with a ribbon. And no chocolate. He was chocolated-out with all his deliveries which he admitted he might occasionally sample.

“A carrot cake?” I asked him. Raw, of course. And also free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar (because they have no room in a health-conscious rabbit’s diet).

“Yes!” He exclaimed. “With a creamy topping to compliment my beloved carrots,” he added.

So because the Easter Bunny asked, I was compelled to create this delicious, decadent-tasting cake that takes only minutes to make and contains wholesome Easter Bunny-approved ingredients.

The result? A double-layered cheesecake style cake with a layer of carrot deliciousness on the bottom and a lighter, cashew cream layer on top. This raw carrot cake is perfect to balance the chocolatey decadence of Easter or any other time of the year, really.

The spices used are ground cardamon and fresh ginger. Cardamon is botanically related to ginger and turmeric and I find the tastes are very complimentary. The lemon in the cashew cream brings a zest and lightness that compliments the earthy sweetness of the carrots and the magic of the spices.

Top your cake with with walnuts and dried flowers or whatever else inspires you (pumpkin seeds, roasted sesame seeds, chopped pistachios, cacoa nibs…)

…and don’t forget to leave a piece for the Easter Bunny!

Raw Carrot Cake

Ingredients – Base

1.5 cups buckwheat, quinoa or oat flakes

1/2 cup shredded coconut

3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1/2 tsp cardamon

small knob of ginger (about the size of a thumbnail)

a dash of unrefined salt

1/2 cup dried figs 

1.5 cup Medjool dates, pitted

Method – Base

Use a food processor for this – you need the S-blade and wider bowl a blender doesn’t have.

Start by blending the flakes until they are powder-like. The add the rest of the ingredients except the dates and figs in a powerful food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth. Then add in the dates and figs one by one through the feeding tube while the food processor is still running. Keep scraping down the sides if needed.

Once everything is combining, the mixture will be very sticky. Scrape it out with a spatula and press it into a cake form, preferably a small springform pan. Place it in the freezer while you make the topping.

Ingredients – Topping

1.5 cups cashews, soaked for a few hours, then rinsed

Juice + zest of 1 organic lemon

2 tbsp melted coconut oil (that’s about 1 tbsp solid) – you can also use butter if you prefer

2-3 tbsp maple syrup 

A few tablespoons water

Method – Topping

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until the mixture is smooth. Add more water if needed to create a creamy texture. Add more maple syrup or lemon juice until you find the perfect taste for you.

Take your cake out of the freezer and top it with the cashew cream.

Return to the freezer to set for at about 3 hours. Take it out about 20 minutes before serving. You can then store it in the fridge for a softer consistency or a keep it in the freezer for a harder consistency.

Enjoy this Easter Bunny approved cake and have a wonderful Easter!

Recipe inspiration here.

Easter bunny approved

Dreams of Asia Noodle Soup

Asian noodle soupI just spent two wonderful weeks travelling in Myanmar with my husband. We hadn’t been to South East Asia in six years and so much has happened during these past years that in many ways, we felt we were discovering this region for the first time.

Newly opened to tourism, Myanmar is still largely unspoiled and this is particularly evident in the people we talked to who were all very curious and genuinely warm – I have included some photos at the end of this post.

Food-wise, we very much enjoyed eating lots and lots of vegetables, mostly in curries, stir-fries and noodle soups. Because Myanmar has historically had a lot of contact with India (being neighbours and all!), chickpeas are part of the diet and are particularly used roasted to add crunch, texture and protein. I recently discovered chickpea croutons (recipe below) and thought this could be a great way of adding non-animal protein to the soup without using tofu which I try to limit as it can have a hormonal effect on the body.

So here is my first attempt at re-creating a taste of my holiday: A noodle soup that is vegan, soy-free and gluten-free, made with black rice noodles. The taste comes from the combination of ginger, garlic, lemongrass and onion/scallion. The garnish at the end of lime, coriander and chili flakes also add a taste I find reminds me of this beautiful region.

The recipe is very versatile, so feel free to leave out the lemongrass or one of the garnishes and to use different vegetables. You can also just use water instead of coconut milk for a lighter soup.

Ingredients + Method – makes about 6 servings

2 stalks of lemongrass, peeled and finely chopped. This video explains how.

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 onion or scallion, finely chopped

about 15 grams fresh ginger, finely chopped

Prepare the above ingredients and stir fry in a large wok or sauce pan on medium to high eat in about 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil for a few minutes.

asian soup

To your wok, add the below vegetables, then add a little water – just enough to cover the bottom of the wok – and cover. This is an easy way to cook the vegetables by steaming them, which allows you to preserve the nutrients.  Feel free to use other vegetables if you prefer!

1 head broccoli (save the stem for a juice or smoothie) – in small bits

2 large carrots – chopped

1-2 large handfuls of kale or spinach (if using kale, remember to massage it!)


While your vegetables are cooking, cook your noodles. I used a pack of black rice noodles, but you can use any noodles you want. Once they are ready, drain and set aside. In the same pot, heat a can of coconut milk on medium-low heat. Add water if you would like your noodle soup to be more watery.


Once the vegetables are cooked and the coconut milk is warm, add the vegetables to the coconut milk and add salt, chili flakes and juice of 1-2 limes to taste.

Garnish bowls with scallions (green onions), coriander leaves and roasted chickpeas without any spice added (recipe below) for some added protein.

Chickpea croutons

Here a few photos of this beautiful country and its amazing people:

Myanmar Collage

This old woman was such an inspiration! We crossed paths while on a trek with the guide in the photo below – she was alone with her water buffalos, carrying her bottle of green tea. She proudly told us she was 65 and that she had so much energy because she ate rice three times a day…Not sure this is something I would recommend, but it clearly seems to work for her!

old woman

Better than Bircher Müesli: Fruity Chia Bowl

Fruity Chia Bowl

Growing up in Switzerland – and the Swiss-German part no less – Bircher müesli was everywhere. In Switzerland, no hotel breakfast buffet is complete without this beloved breakfast food.

Bircher müesli or simply Bircher as it is called in the French part of Switzerland where I have lived for the past 16 years, is a breakfast of oats soaked in milk, yoghurt, fruits, nuts and seeds. It is made in advance and kept in the fridge to be eaten over several days, making it a quick and convenient breakfast food.

Bircher müesli was invented by a Swiss doctor called Maximilian Bircher-Benner as a way of helping the patients at his sanatorium in Zürich heal through the power of soaked cereal, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds. This might sound obvious to our modern ears, but was revolutionary at the end of the 19th century when meat, potatoes and white bread were the norm.

And while the original Bircher müesli is a pretty good breakfast choice if you are able to digest milk and oats, I am not a fan of either and I know many people also find them hard to digest.

Enter the Fruity Chia Bowl: Using a simple cashew milk instead of milk and chia seeds instead of oats, this breakfast is better than Bircher and might even keep you going for longer.

Indeed, chia seeds were the food of choice for Aztec and Mayan warriors, who believed that a single tablespoon would keep them going for 24 hours. I am not sure I can guarantee 24 hours, but my husband and I both tried 5-6 hours between breakfast and lunch and it definitely kept us going! I wrote more about the wonder of chia seeds here in case you need more convincing!

This Fruity Chia Bowl is super easy to prepare, taking only a few minutes in the evening and can be eaten for up to 4-5 days. There is something I find very gratifying about food that is waiting for you in the fridge: I see it as a love note from me to me or my husband.

So here’s how to prepare your own love note to yourself and your family. The recipe is very versatile, so feel free to adapt it to suit your needs or just keep things interesting!

INGREDIENTS (for about 8 servings)

1 cup/175 grams raw, unsalted cashews – preferably soaked for 3-4 hours to make them more digestible and easier to blend. Rinse well before using.


250 grams raspberries (I used frozen without defrosting them first)

1 medium apple (sour apples like Granny Smiths give more taste)

1 medium pear

1 medium banana

Juice of 1 lemon

3.5 cups/950 ml water

3/4 cup or 135 grams chia seeds

Spice of your choice – a little vanilla or cinnamon powder work well. I usually don’t add spices during preparation and add  some to my bowl instead so I can change the taste a little every day.


Chop fruit into the size you like and place in a big container that has a lid. Place the frozen raspberries in there as well. Pour the lemon juice over the fruit and stir. The lemon juice is very important as it helps keep the fruit fresh and lends a sour, almost yoghurt-like taste.

Drain and rinse soaked cashew and put them in a blender with the water. You have just made cashew milk! If you want a sweeter taste, you can add a little maple syrup, honey or dates to this mixture although I find it doesn’t need additional sweetness thanks to the fruit. If you are adding spices you can also add them in at this point.

Once you have made your cashew milk, add the chia seeds. Pulse very briefly on the lowest setting of your blender – just enough to mix the chia seeds without actually blending them.

Pour the milky mixture over the fruits and stir. If you want an even closer experience to the original Bircher, you could add quinoa or buckwheat flakes and stir again. I don’t personally find this is necessary and prefer the taste and texture without.

Cover the container and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to allow the chia seeds to create a jelly-like texture.

You can keep your Fruity Chia Bowl in the fridge for about 4-5 days, so you have breakfast ready for almost the whole week! For the best taste, take your Fruity Chia out of the fridge at least 10 minutes before eating.

You can now find chia seeds in any organic store. I usually order them online here as they are cheaper to buy in bigger sizes. You can use code WIV403 to get up to $10 off your first order.

Are you a fan of Bircher müesli? Let me know what you think if you give this alternative a try! 

Baked Quinoa + Bean Patties With Healthy Ketchup

quinoa & bean patties healthy ketchup

I have a confession: I love ketchup. When I was younger, I would have it with anything, even popcorn and rice. And while my penchant for everything ketchup has thankfully subsided, I still sometimes crave that unbeatable ketchup-y taste.

What is it about ketchup that makes it so irresistible? The answer, my friends, is yet again, umami – that mystical fifth taste we are hardwired to find so irresistible.

Healthy Ketchup for Adults

This recipe contains several umami ingredients: The dried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, tamari sauce (or soy sauce), onion and garlic. It also combines a mix of tastes: Salty (sun-dried tomatoes + tamari sauce), sweet (from the maple syrup), pungent (onion + garlic), sour (vinegar). The addition of allspice also adds complexity to this fusion of tastes. This makes for a very sophisticated, grown-up version of ketchup that kids will probably not like (sorry!). Play around with adding more or less of certain ingredients to find a balance you like – taste is very individual.


20 sun-dried tomatoes (buy them in bags without oil)

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 onion, peeled

2 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tbsp maple syrup

1  tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp tamari sauce (or soy sauce)

1/2 tsp allspice or ground cumin if you don’t have allspice

3/4 cup water (more or less depending on how liquid you want it)


Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until it is smooth. Adjust seasoning to suit your taste. If you want a milder flavor, use less sun-dried tomatoes and replace with canned or fresh tomatoes.  Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 1 week. Makes 1 large jar.

Baked Quinoa + Bean Patties

These super quick and simple patties were inspired by Sweet Artichoke. They make about 12 medium sized patties.

You can store leftovers in the fridge for 1-2 days and reheat or eat them cold. I find they go especially well with the healthy ketchup recipe above and you can also serve them with a salad or vegetables. They also go well with hummus. The combination of quinoa and beans makes them a good source of protein.


1 cup of cooked quinoa (learn how to cook quinoa here – soak it for at least 15 minutes before cooking and rinse well!)

1 cup of cooked white beans (or 1 can rinsed beans)

onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp salt

a few grinds of pepper


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Combine cooked quinoa and white beans in a bowl and mash them using a potato masher. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine. Form patties and place on a baking tray with parchment paper. Place in the oven and cook for about 30 minute, until the patties are brown and firm.


Save time by making a bigger batch of quinoa and keep in the fridge for several days to use in other meals such as a stir-fry like this one, by making it into a porridge in the morning or adding it to soups and smoothies to make them more consistent.

You can also peel several cloves of garlic at a time and store in a jar in the fridge. garlic tip

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Red Pesto

Sweet potato gnocchi with red pesto

Un bon livre, Marcus, est un livre que l’on regret d’avoir terminé / A good book, Marcus, is a book you are sorry to have finished.

– Joel Dicker in La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert

I love reading and in a novel I read recently, The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani, one of the characters, an Italian immigrant to New York, makes gnocchi. This potato and flour dish is loaded with nostalgia for her, bringing her back to her childhood village in the Italian Alps. It made me want to give her a hug…and also to taste the gnocchi she was making.

So I decided I needed to create a healthier version of gnocchi. Traditionally, gnocchi is made with white potatoes, white flour and eggs, then rolled into a dough and boiled in water for about a minute.

Instead of using normal potatoes, I wanted to use sweet potatoes as they are significantly higher in vitamin C and beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is key for eye health and the immune system and just 1 medium-sized sweet potato covers more than 200% of your daily needs in vitamin A and 50% of your daily needs of vitamin C. (source). In order to improve the absorption of beta-carotene in the body (found mostly in orange fruits and vegetables like carrots and pumpkins/squash, melon) it is best to combine these foods with a source of fat. In this recipe, the pine nuts and olive oil from the pesto add healthy fats to the dish.

Start by cooking 2 medium sweet potatoes

Wash the sweet potatoes, then roast them in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes or until you can poke them with a fork. Take out and leave to cool. You can make these up to 2 days in advance and simply wrap them in the baking sheet and put in the fridge. It is essential that the sweet potatoes be cold for this recipe.

Roasted sweet potatoes

Red Pesto (inspired by this recipe)

1 red bell pepper (red peppers are the ripest peppers – making them easier to digest + more nutrient dense than green or yellow peppers)

2 ripe tomatoes

3/4 cup pine nuts

12 dried tomatoes (buy them without oil)

2 garlic cloves

olive oil amount depends on desired consistency

salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

Cut the red bell pepper and remove the seeds. Place it on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Add the bell pepper and more olive oil or a little water if you prefer a more liquid consistency.

Set aside while you prepare the gnocchi. You can use any leftovers as a spread on bread, crackers or vegetables.


Sweet Potato Gnocchi (serves 4)

medium sweet potatoes, cooked and cooled (see above)

1 egg

About 200g of buckwheat flour, chestnut flour or other flour

A dash of salt, pepper and ground nutmeg

Peel and mash the sweet potatoes in a bowl, then add the egg, salt, pepper and ground nutmeg.

Sweet potato + egg mix

Add the flour and mix with your hands until a dough that isn’t too sticky is formed. You may need to add a little more flour.

Roll out your dough into a snake-like shape and cut it into small pieces with a knife. Do this for all your dough mix.

Cutting dough

gnocchi dough

Bring a pan of water to a boil and drop in a handful of gnocchi. Leave them for about 1 minute, until they float to the surface, then take them out with a slotted spoon and place them in a dish. Do not overcook the gnocchi or they become hard! Keep doing this until you have finished your gnocchi reserve.

Gnocchi boiling water

Once your gnocchi is cooked, combine it with the red pesto and serve on a bed of greens. I find that the sweet potatoes and buckwheat have quite an earthy, grounding energy and adding some greens like arugula adds a more uplifting, light energy to the meal. You can read more about the energetics of food here.

Sweet potato gnocchi with red pesto2

Zucchini Crust Pizza + Raw Tomato Sauce

Zucchini Crust Pizza3It’s the season of zucchini and what better way to eat them than snuck into a pizza crust? Zucchini Crust Pizza is easier to make than traditional pizza, and it is also a great way of eating more vegetables while avoiding white flour. Oh, and did I mention it is absolutely delicious? Trust me, you won’t miss the ‘real’ thing!

Zucchini Crust Pizza is simply a crust of made of grated zucchini mixed with eggs. The pizza taste really comes from the toppings – you can add whatever you like.

Through sheer laziness, I recently experimented with a tomato sauce that doesn’t actually need to be cooked to taste amazing and I share the recipe for this below. Besides using it for this pizza, you can also combine this tomato sauce with zucchini noodles for a completely raw meal or with normal pasta which heats up the sauce and tastes wonderful.

I was inspired by these recipes to create my own recipe below- there are vegan options there if you want to avoid eggs.

How to Make the Zucchini Crust

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Grate 2 small, 1 1/2 medium or 1 really big zucchini in a bowl.

Place the zucchini in a clean dish towel, cheese cloth or nut milk bag and squeeze until all the liquid has come out. This is really important – otherwise your pizza will be soggy!

Add 2 small eggs or 1 large egg and mix.

Add about 1 tsp dried oregano and a pinch of salt.

Mix everything together and transfer to a pie dish. Press down the mixture with your hands so that it is well packed.

Place the crust in the oven for about 15 minutes or until it is golden brown and solid. Once it is ready, take it out of the oven and lower the heat to 200 degrees Celsius.

Zucchini Crust Pizza

Raw Tomato Sauce

While your crust is cooking, prepare the raw tomato sauce.

Place 4 medium tomatoes, roughly cut in a blender or food processor.

Add 2 cloves garlic, salt + pepper to taste.

Add 4 dried tomatoes for a more intense, umami taste.

Do not add any water or olive oil if you are making this for pizza so that it does not become too watery.

If you are making it for pasta, you can add a little olive oil and a small onion and 1/2 bell pepper as well as a little fresh basil. Add to the blended tomato mix and pulse once to combine so that there are still some chunky bits.


Use the tomato sauce above as a base and add whatever you want. Here I used Mozzarella di Bufola, a chopped red onion, red bell pepper and some fresh basil at the end.

Place all the toppings on the crust and put back in the oven for a few more minutes, until the cheese is melted and it looks ready.

This can keep for a few days in the fridge and is delicious served cold as well!

Zucchini Crust Pizza2

Coffee: Friend or Foe? + Iced Coffee Recipe (dairy, soy & refined sugar-free)

coffee cupAh coffee! There are few smells in this world that make me happier.

I remember waking up at my grandmother’s house in Jordan during the summers we spent there and smelling Turkish coffee. I would find her and my mother sitting in the veranda, sipping coffee and chatting. After every lunch, we had a coffee ritual where we would brew a pot of coffee, set out my grandmother’s little cups and choose something sweet to go with the coffee.

For me, there are few foods or drinks more imbued with memories and sensuality than coffee.

Which brings up this question I hear a lot: What about coffee? Is it healthy? How many cups can I drink?

My usual response to that question with any food or drink is ‘it depends…’ and it is no different with coffee.

Coffee is a great illustration of how nutritional research reveals both sides of a food or drink.

On the plus side…

Coffee has been shown to increase alertness, improve mood and energy, concentration and even athletic performance. It is also a great source of antioxidants and has even been shown to help prevent disease such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

On the not so sunny side…

Coffee has been shown to increase blood pressure, increases stress response in the body, spike blood sugar levels, can exacerbate gastro-intestinal problems, inhibits the absorption of nutrients, increases the risk of urinary and prostate problems in men and hormone-related problems with women such as PMS.

My own relationship to coffee:

I used to be a real coffee addict, downing 4 cups a day.

I was the typical office employee, heading to the Nespresso machine as soon as I got in, then taking a few more coffee-infused breaks during the day.

I then started noticing some hormonal issues and decided to experiment with cutting down on my coffee consumption.

I started small, simply replacing my morning coffee with a herbal tea.

Once this became a habit, I replaced another of my daily cups with a herbal tea. I actually bought a whole bunch of cool herbal teas to make this new habit more exciting.

I kept going until there were days when I no longer drank coffee in the office and kept it only for when I went to see clients (they had better coffee) or for weekends.

I also made a special condition: Drinking coffee had to be a moment of absolute pleasure – not just a habit or something I did to get a caffeine hit. I didn’t like the idea of being addicted to anything, so I wanted to turn my coffee addiction into a coffee love affair.

This was a few years ago, and I can safely say that I am no longer addicted to coffee…and I still love it. I have about one coffee a day but will sometimes go for a few days without if I am not in a context that offers great coffee. I also upgraded on quality – if you are in Geneva, the best coffee in my opinion is Boréal!

As the research above shows, coffee is neither black nor white. As always, your body is the only true authority on the subject, so why not try experimenting with reducing your coffee consumption to see how you feel? Experiment with how much coffee works for you

Moving from Coffee Addiction to a Coffee Love Affair

♥ Do not quit cold turkey. Start by reducing your intake very slowly, otherwise you can have caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as headaches. Caffeine addiction is real!

Focus on what you are replacing your coffee with instead of the coffee you are removing. This could be herbal tea or green tea (which still has caffeine but less than coffee) or even a chicory-based drink that smells and tastes quite similar to coffee.

♥ When you are tempted to have a coffee, ask yourself: Do I really feel like having a coffee right now or is it just a habit or an excuse to take a break? Try to have coffee only when it is pure pleasure.

Upgrade on quality. If you are making it at home, buy the best quality coffee you can find. You can even buy whole coffee beans and grind them yourself. If you are having coffee away from home, only drink the best quality you can find.

Try to avoid overly sugary, milky coffee drinks à la Starbucks Caramel Macchiato or Frappucino. A tall soy milk Caramel Macchiato (the smallest size) which sounds harmless enough actually has 24g of sugar – the equivalent of 8 cubes of sugar! If you need your sweet coffee kick, try my recipe for iced coffee below.

♥ If you add sugar to your coffee, use real sugar, not aspartame which is even worse. Even better, try adding half a teaspoon less of sugar until you can have your coffee without sugar.

♥ It is better to avoid drinking coffee first thing in the morning on an empty stomach as this stresses the body and spikes blood sugar levels. If you need your morning coffee, have breakfast first.

♥ Coffee spikes blood sugar, so in general, it is best to avoid having it on an empty stomach. The best time of day to have coffee seems to be after lunch.

♥ Some people are extremely sensitive to caffeine and having coffee or even chocolate late in the afternoon can affect sleep.

Better than Starbucks Iced Coffee (dairy, soy & refined sugar-free)

2 tbsp almond butter (made only of ground almonds)

3 dl water

1-3 tbsp maple syrup or honey (depending on how sweet you like it)

1 cup coffee – brewed, then left to cool in a bowl

Combine the almond butter and water in a blender and blend until smooth. This is actually a lazy version of almond milk which is better than store-bought almond milk as it has no additives. You can also use 3 dl almond milk instead – I use this recipe to make my own.

Add the coffee and maple syrup or honey. Serve in a glass with ice cubes.

Store leftovers in a jar in the fridge.

I would love to hear from you – what’s your relationship to coffee like? Would you like to make any changes?

Iced Coffee_Final



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Couldn’t Be Easier Lemon Poppy Seed Cake (Gluten & Dairy Free)

lemon poppy seed cake 2.jpg

Baking a cake does not get any simpler, quicker or healthier than this.

All you need is a bowl, a scale and a whisk – no measuring cup or mixer needed.

And the result? Absolutely delicious. The tart taste of the lemon contrasts nicely with the subtle sweetness of the maple syrup and the crunch of the poppy seeds.

Poppy seeds seem to have fallen out of fashion recently, replaced by the more sexy and almost identical-looking chia seeds whose praise I sung here. Poppy seeds are super healthy as well, containing phosphorous, calcium, fiber, iron, potassium and zinc and are a good source of healthy fats. They are grown in Europe, making them more local to us here than chia seeds and they compliment baked goods like cakes or breads extremely well. They can also be added to salad dressings or sprinkled over porridge or muesli.

This is a great breakfast on the go cake and is also lovely with a cup of tea. It keeps well for several days and you can even freeze it.


100g maple syrup

40g olive oil

2 tbsp almond butter or other nut or seed butter

50g poppy seeds

3 small or medium eggs or 2 large ones

juice + zest of 1 large organic lemon

a pinch of sea salt

150g gluten-free flour of your choice – I used half buckwheat flour and half chestnut flour

2 tsp baking powder


Put a bowl on top of a scale and measure the ingredients one by one, starting from the top and whisking as you go along.

Pour the mixture in a baking loaf, greased if it is not silicone.

Bake in the middle of a preheated oven for about 25-35 minutes at 170 degrees. You will know it is ready when a knife comes out clean.

Take it out of the baking loaf and put it on a rack to cool down.

Inspired by this recipe.

Lemon poppy seed cake1.jpg

Lamb’s Lettuce & Egg Salad + Egg Love

Lamb's Lettuce & Egg Salad.jpg

If you have a few extra hard-boiled eggs lying around this Easter period, fear not – I have the perfect recipe for you!

This recipe is based on the Swiss-German Nüsslisalat and uses a type of leafy green called lamb’s lettuce or mâche (doucette or rampon in French). Lamb’s lettuce has its humble origins as a weed which was found growing among cereal crops in Europe. It became an important source of nutrients during winter as one of the few types of salads that grows during this period, and is traditionally eaten in early Spring as well. It is a good source of vitamin C, iron and beta-carotene and has a delicate, nutty taste that is quite distinctive.

This Easter salad is very high in good fats found in the walnuts, avocado and olive oil as well as protein from the eggs. Because healthy fats and protein are actually more filling than most carbohydrates (especially refined ones like white bread), you can eat this alone as a meal in itself without needing bread or anything else to make it more filling. I always find it ironic that people trying to be healthy have a really light salad without much protein or fat and then fill up on bread. Add healthy fats and protein instead and notice how filling a salad becomes! It is enough for two people as a main dish or 4 as a starter.

A word on eggs

Research is increasingly showing that even though eggs contain cholesterol, they do not increase cholesterol in the body. Eggs are actually one of the healthiest foods you can eat, containing high-quality protein, healthy fats, vitamins, A, D, E, K and B12, folate and iron.

The most important thing is to make sure you buy organic, free-range eggs – meaning that the hens lived outside and where fed a natural diet.


1-2 pressed garlic cloves

2 tsp Dijon mustard

6 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar

1-2 tablespoons honey

8 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste


200g lamb’s lettuce

4 hard-boiled eggs

1 avocado

Handful of walnuts

Chocolate Breakfast Cookies

Chocolate Breakfast Cookies.jpg

Cookies for breakfast? Why not, as long as they are a good source of protein, healthy fats and sustainable energy. Not something that can be said of most cookies that come in a package! So here is a recipe for making your own breakfast cookies which take just 5 minutes, one bowl and no mixer or blender to prepare.

These Chocolate Breakfast Cookies are a great choice when you are on the go – on a business trip, needing to catch an early flight or just want a snack to take with you that nourishes both your body and soul.

Instead of the traditional flour, sugar and butter, these cookies use mashed white beans to add consistency and sweetness. You have to try them to believe they can actually taste this good! The combination of whole grain oats and white beans means they are a complete protein while the tahini, coconut oil and cacao add healthy fats. Both protein and healthy fats are essential to balance blood sugar levels, so you have stable energy all morning.

I used very little maple syrup in this recipe, but feel free to add a little more if you need a sweeter taste!


Makes about 16 medium cookies

1.5 cups whole grain oats

1.5 cups white beans (1 can rinsed)

2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup

2 big tbsp cacao or 4-5 tbsp sugar-free Ovomaltine

2 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

a pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 18o degrees Celsius.

Mash beans in a bowl until the consistency is smooth. Add the oats, salt, cacao, tahini and mix. You can use a food processor or just mix by hand.

Melt the coconut oil if solid on medium heat until it is liquid. Add to the bowl and mix everything with your hands until the batter is uniform.

Form cookies on a lined baking tray and put in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Take them out and leave them to cool on a rack.

Chocolate Breakfast Cookies2

Black Magic Beans + Rice

Black magic beans & rice.jpg

I was inspired by the Red Blanket Sauce from one of my favorite food blogs, My New Roots to create a meal that is nothing short of magic. The star of the meal is a savory cacao and tomato-based sauce with a smooth, velvety texture to which I added black beans. In keeping with the color theme, I served it with black rice and pine nuts.

As I have already written here, combining plant proteins such as beans and rice is a great way of making sure you are getting enough protein. I topped the rice with roasted pine nuts to add a healthy fat and crunch to the dish. You could also try topping the dish with coconut flakes or diced avocado or even just some chopped coriander.

Both black beans and black rice are among the healthiest types of beans and rice since they are rich in phytonutrients called anthocyanins. This is what gives them the distinct dark color which can also be found in purple cabbage, blueberries or grapes. These powerful nutrients have a protective effect on the body, helping prevent disease as different as diabetes, allergic reactions, heart disease and cancer. Be careful when you are soaking and cooking them though as the color can stain kitchen counters…

You can use canned red beans and red or brown rice if you prefer – I suppose it would then be called Red Magic Beans + Rice?

Soak the beans and rice overnight to reduce cooking time and make them more digestible.


A bit of coconut oil or ghee

1  onion or scallion

3 cloves garlic

1 can tomatoes (unseasoned)

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp dried thyme or oregano

pinch of cayenne, if desired

4 regular dates or 2 Medjool dates

2 tbsp cacao powder

2-3 dried tomatoes

1 tbsp tahini

2-4 tbsp water

1½ tbsp lemon or lime juice


Heat the oil or ghee in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add the spices and stir until you can smell them.

Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the minced garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Adjust the seasoning if you need.

In a blender or food processor, combine the rest of the ingredients, then add the tomato sauce when it is ready. Add more water if needed and blend until the consistency is smooth.

Meanwhile, cook the beans and rice separately, according to the instructions on the pack. You can also use canned beans if you prefer.

Heat a little coconut oil, olive oil or ghee in a frying pan on medium heat and fry some pine nuts until they are golden.

Once the beans are cooked, mix in with the sauce.  Serve with the rice topped with pine nuts.


Lazy Lentil Stew (vegan & gluten-free)

Lazy Lentil Stew

Who said fast food had to be unhealthy?

This Lazy Lentil Stew is one of my go-to meals in winter when I don’t really feel like cooking (yes, it happens even to me) or I want to have leftovers for a few days.

It is basically just lentils, your choice of vegetables, tomato sauce and a mix of herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano. I also add in some more umami taste to enhance the flavor with some blended dried tomatoes  (you can buy them without the oil) as well as a dash of red wine vinegar just before serving. In many traditional lentil recipes you will see lemon or vinegar added at the end of the preparation because it really ‘lifts’ the flavor while making the lentils easier to digest. Also, make sure you never salt lentils until they are cooked.

I usually use green or brown lentils as they don’t become mushy, which I prefer for this stew. If you want to learn about the different types of lentils, watch this video. As mentioned previously, lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, folate, potassium and magnesium while being quite easy and quick to prepare since they don’t need soaking like beans.


(for 4 people)

1 tsp ghee or coconut oil

1 yellow onion

1 clove garlic, pressed

1 cup lentils – brown or green

2 cups water

About 2 cups vegetables – I used cauliflower, frozen peas and a parsnip but feel free to use whatever you have at hand, either fresh or frozen. If you are using green leafy vegetables, add them only at the end of cooking.

1 can tomatoes

4-5 dried tomatoes, blended or finely chopped

1/2 tsp unrefined salt

1 tbsp herbes de Provence or herbs of your choice


Rinse lentils under cold water.

Melt ghee or coconut oil in a pot under medium-high heat, then add the onions and pressed garlic. Stir for a few minutes, then add the drained lentils and 2 cups of water. Cover the pot.

Increase heat to high and bring to a boil then leave to simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.

Add the vegetables and leave for another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are almost cooked.

Add the tomato sauce and dried tomatoes and simmer for a few more minutes.

Add salt, pepper and herbs to taste.

Just before serving, add a dash of red wine or apple cider vinegar. You can also top each bowl with some crumbled Feta cheese.

If you have leftovers, store them in the fridge and eat over several days – simply reheat the stew in a pan with a little water.

Dukkah: Magical Spice & Nut Mix

Dukkah ingredients
In spite of my Arab roots, I have to admit I discovered dukkah while traveling in Australia last October.

This Egyptian spice mix was served over eggs or salads, providing a taste I immediately fell in love with. It was nutty, spicy, fragrant with just a hint of the exotic all at the same time. I was sold.

As soon as I got back, I tried recreating it. As with any spice mix, there are several recipes so I experimented until I found one I liked fell in love with!

Adding a sprinkle of dukkah to food makes the taste more exciting for our tastebuds. This is important because when taste is interesting and satisfying, we tend to have less cravings.

In our household, dukkah has made an appearance with roasted or steamed vegetables, salads, eggs, and also just with bread dipped in olive oil, then in dukkah (the traditional way). You could also try encrusting fish or meat with dukkah instead of bread crumbs.

You can find all of the ingredients in normal supermarkets except the coriander seeds – I found them in Manor (Geneva) and I am sure you can also find it in ethnic stores (Indian or Middle Eastern). As you will notice in this recipe, toasting nuts, seeds and spices really makes their taste pop.


Inspired by this recipe – takes about 15 minutes to make 

1 cup unsalted nuts or a mix of nuts such as pistachio, hazelnuts or almonds

3/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup coriander seeds

1/4 cup cumin seeds

1 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Start by toasting the nuts – put them on a tray in the oven at 190 degrees Celsius for about 5-10 minutes – keep an eye on them and stir constantly so they don’t burn. You can tell when they are ready from the wonderful smell, and they also become a little darker.

Take them out and leave them to cool completely.

Toast the sesame seeds in the same way – they should take only a few minutes. Once again, the smell and slightly toasted appearance will let you know when they are ready.

Take them out and leave them to cool completely.

Dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds in a pan over low to medium heat. Keep tossing them so they don’t burn. They should be ready in a few minutes – once again the smell will let you know!

Once all the ingredients have cooled, combine them in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is crumbly and as fine or coarse as you would like it to be. Be careful not to overdo the food processing as the Dukkah can easily turn into a paste!

Keep the mixture in a jar in the fridge – it should stay fresh for several weeks (although I don’t think it will last so long!).

Dukkah mix

Harissa: Arabic Semolina Cake (a healthier version)

Harisa: Arabic Semolina Cake

One of the Arabic desserts I loved growing up was harissa, a semolina based cake traditionally made from ghee (or butter), white sugar and semolina. It is then doused in a sugary syrup called ater, made from boiling large quantities of sugar in water. We would always eat it around New Year’s Eve since there is a belief that eating something sweet makes the coming year sweet!

While I was visiting my family in Amman, my mother and I decided to reinvent it into a healthier version, using yoghurt instead of butter or ghee, brown sugar instead of white sugar, and a honey syrup instead of the sugar syrup. All my family who tried it agreed that they actually preferred this healthier version to the traditional one!

Semolina is a coarsely ground grain made from wheat. If you are not sensitive to gluten, it actually has some interesting health benefits, including iron, selenium and B-complex vitamins and is used in many Arabic desserts and cookies.

Ingredients (for about 6 people)

1.5 cups finely ground semolina (sémoule complète de blé dur fine in French)

1/2 cup dark sugar

1/4 cup orange blossom water (you can find this in the Middle Eastern section of large grocery stores like Coop)

1 cup natural, full-fat yoghurt

1/2 tsp baking soda

Almonds to decorate – remove the skins by soaking them in boiling water, then squeezing them out with your thumbs.


Mix the semolina with the sugar

Add the orange blossom water and mix.

Add the baking soda to the yoghurt and mix before adding this to the other ingredients.

Mix with your hands to create a smooth mixture.

Leave to rest for about 30 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of tahini (sesame paste used in humus) onto a tray about 20 cm in diameter.

Decorate with the almonds.

Put in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes or until it is almost done.

While the cake is in the oven, prepare the honey syrup:

Heat 1/2 cup honey with 1/2 cup water, add a dash of orange blossom water and bring to a boil. Add a squeeze of lemon once it has boiled and leave to cool.

Take the cake out of the oven, cut it in squares and pour the honey syrup over it. Put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

This healthier version of Harissa is delicious served hot just out of the oven but I also like it cold the next day! You can store it in the fridge for a few days (if it lasts that long!)

harissa, a semolina cake



Immune Boosting Spaghetti Squash Stir-Fry


Roasted squash

I was really excited to find spaghetti squash this weekend – a variety of squash with string-like flesh that can take on the same role as pasta in a dish.

For this stir-fry, I used vegetables with immune-enhancing qualities from the allium family: Onion, garlic and leeks.

The real magic taste-wise lies in the sauce which adds a very satisfying taste thanks to the umami ingredients – read more about this concept here.

Spaghetti Squash

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Wash the spaghetti squash and cut it in half lengthwise. This is actually quite hard, so make sure you are using a good knife!

Scoop out the seeds using a spoon.

Place the squash flesh-side down on a tray with a baking sheet  and roast in the oven for about 30-45 minutes or until you can easily insert a fork in the flesh.

Run a fork down the length of the squash’s flesh to create spaghetti-like strands.

Put these to a side.

If you don’t want to use the whole squash in one meal, leave the other half to cool, then wrap it in the baking sheet and keep it in the fridge for a few days.


Wash and cut all the vegetables – you can actually use any vegetables you want.

Heat a little coconut oil in a wok and fry the onion and garlic first, then add the leeks and carrots with a little water and cover to cook the vegetables.


Once the vegetables are ready, add the  spaghetti squash, stir, then add the Umami Sauce as described in this recipe. I actually make a large portion of this sauce and keep it in my fridge for up to 2 weeks, adding it to recipes like this to pump up the taste.

You can also add a green like spinach, Swiss chard or rocket leaves at the very end for an additional nutritional boost. Here I added rocket leaves.

Serve with some pumpkin or squash seeds and the protein of your choice – I tried this recipe with crumbled feta cheese and it was delicious!




Get Well Soon Red Lentil Soup

lentil soup1

Growing up, whenever someone in my family caught a cold, my mother would immediately whip up some red lentil soup or shorabet ‘adas as we call it in Arabic.

There was something magical about this soup: The mix of spices, fresh lemon and onion always made me feel better as soon as I ate it.

As an adult, I still make when my husband or I catch a cold or sometimes when I simply need a hug in a bowl.

I wanted to share this recipe with you as the perfect antidote to the colds that are so frequent this season. This powerful soup combines immune-boosting onion, nutritional powerhouse lentils and vitamin C-filled lemon juice. You can eat it as a starter or a main meal: Make it more filling by adding some of the toppings mentioned below. I almost always add olives, since as a healthy fat, they make a meal more filling while also adding some umami!

A nutritional aside

Red lentils are actually one of the fastest lentils to cook – they don’t need to be soaked (only washed) and are a good source of protein and fiber. Lentils are also a very good source of iron, and the vitamin C in the lemon helps improve iron absorption in the body.

I love using red lentils in soups because they become mushy when cooked unlike brown or green lentils which stay intact.

The star of this recipe is without a doubt the ground cumin. Cumin is traditionally paired with lentils in Arabic and Indian food because it acts as a digestive aid. Cumin is also a very warming spice – perfect for the winter months ahead, as well as a good source of magnesium and iron. Not just a tasty addition, a healthy one, too!


2 cups red lentils, washed until the water is clear

4 cups or 1 liter water

2 onions, chopped

Ground cumin, salt & pepper to taste

Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon – depends on the size of your lemon and how much you like the taste!


Heat oil and fry the onion. Once it is cooked, add the washed lentils, stir with the onions, then add water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat and leave for about 10-15 minutes until the lentils are mushy.

Add the ground cumin, salt and pepper to taste – I use about a large tablespoon of cumin.

Once the soup is ready, remove from the heat and add lemon juice.


Olives, capers, strips of grilled Arabic bread, steamed leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard or kale or fresh spring onion for some added immunity boost.

I’d love to hear from you – what was your ‘Get well soon’ food growing up?

Brown Rice & Zaatar Crackers


As mentioned in a previous post, I try to avoid bread and bread-like products as much as possible. Not only because white flour is void of nutrients and spikes blood sugar levels, which is what makes us fat, but also because conventionally bought bread has a lot of yucky stuff in it like preservatives. Seriously, check the ingredients next time you’re in a supermarket – it’s actually quite shocking!

So in an attempt to find a bread alternative and use up 4 cups of cooked brown rice that I miscalculated after having my family over for lunch and slightly overestimating their appetite for brown rice, I had this idea: Make a healthier cracker using brown rice and seeds, loosely based on this recipe. I added zaatar, a herb mix frequently used in the Arab world but you could add pretty much any herb or spice, or even onion and garlic powder or olives. Otherwise, you should be able to find zaatar mix in Middle Eastern stores and often in Fair Trade type stores as well. I have included the recipe in the photo below if you want to make your own mix!

Ingredients (makes 2 full trays)

4 cups brown rice

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup linseeds

5-6 tbsp olive oil

sea salt to taste

Herbs or spices – I used zaatar which was a match made in heaven.


Put rice in food processor and pulse until it is mushy. Add all the other ingredients and continue to pulse until a dough-like consistency is formed.

Place the dough on a parchment paper, then take another piece of parchment paper and a rolling pin and flatten the dough as much as possible. The flatter the dough, the crunchier the crackers will be.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for about 30-45 minutes. Turn them over at the 30 minute mark – you should be able to do this with the whole block.

Once they are as crisp and golden as you would like them to be, take them out and leave them to cool. Once they have cooled, you can break them into pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.




The 10-Minute Revolutionary Raw Jam

raw jam

I love jam with my weekend pancakes but I have never tried making my own because I don’t have the patience for cooking and preserving the jams properly!

This jam is a much simpler and healthier alternative to traditional jams AND it only takes a few minutes to prepare, doesn’t need sugar and relies on only 2 key ingredients: Seasonal fresh fruits and chia seeds. I have written about the wonder of chia seeds here and this recipe relies on their jelly-like consistency when soaked with water to provide the same consistency you want from jam.

You can get as creative as you want by using any fruit and then adding whatever tickles your fancy: Ginger, spices, orange or lemon peel, lemon juice, lavender…And if you want a sweeter taste to the natural sweetness of the fruit, you can add a little maple syrup or honey.


2 cup seasonal fruit 

1 tbsp chia seeds soaked for 10 min in 2 tbsp water


Add to taste: Ginger, spices, orange or lemon peel, lemon juice, maple syrup or honey.


Apricot with fresh ginger root

Mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries and blackberries) with a pinch of lavender and a dash of maple syrup


Mix chia seeds in water and leave to sit for 10 minutes in the fridge. Meanwhile, blend the fruit and any other ingredients. When the chia gel is formed add it to the mix and blend. Pour in jars and keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks. You could also trying freezing your raw jam, although I haven’t tried this yet.


PS – You can find chia seeds in most organic stores, but I find it cheaper to order them online from www.iherb.com. Use the code WIV403 to get $5-10 off your first order.

Chickpea Flour Crepes

Chickpea flour crepe

If you think about it, the role bread or dough plays is more of a supporting role than a starring role. A sandwich is more about the filling than the bread and pizza dough is more a carrier than anything else.

In my attempt to recreate this supporting role of carrier, I came up with this recipe, inspired by the Italian farinata and French socca, but simplified to only 2 ingredients: Water and chickpea flour. Chickpea flour is just ground chickpeas and can be found in Indian speciality stores or organic stores, usually in the gluten-free flour section.

I usually make these crepes as a way of jazzing up leftovers – here I had some tomato, mozzarella and basil salad, sweet potato, chickpea and Feta stir-fry and some homemade sauerkraut that needed finishing!


Same quantity water and chickpea flour – for 2 people 1 cup of each

A dash of unrefined salt and herbs or spices if desired. I find that ground cumin goes very well.


Mix everything in a bowl and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes. This makes the chickpea flour easier to digest.

Heat a little coconut oil in a frying pan and add some batter. Flip the crepe when the side is cooked.

Serve with any filling or topping – works particularly well for leftovers! You can also fold the crepe in half to make it more sandwich-like.


Chickpea flour crepe2

A Healthier Pancake (Gluten & Dairy free)


A frequent weekend tradition for me growing up was my Dad’s pancakes. This was special because not only was it a rare occurrence for my father to actually cook, it was also one of my favorite breakfasts and a celebration of the weekend.

Pancakes are still one of my favorite breakfasts, so it was one of the first things I ‘healthified’ – by replacing the white flour with buckwheat flour (which is whole grain) and the milk with almond or rice milk. If I am avoiding eggs or don’t have any, I substitute them with flax or chia seeds.


Combine the following dry ingredients: 

1.5 cups buckwheat flour or a mixed with other gluten-free flours like teff, chestnut, rice flour

1 tsp brown sugar 

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Combine the following wet ingredients: 

1 egg (or you can substitute eggs with 1 tbsp of ground flax seed or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir well, and place in the fridge to set for 15 minutes)

2 tbsp olive  or coconut oil

1.5 cups milk of your choice

Combine dry & wet ingredients together, then heat some coconut oil in a frying pan and pour batter into pan. Flip over when side is cooked.