Yep, it’s a salad. A simple mix of vegetables with a little dressing. Yet the combination of flavours in this quick summery dish makes it a winner for me. It’s not just a salad; it’s a lovely, colourful, flavoursome salad.
Summertime is always time when my kitchen shelf and the fridge are bursting with various vegetables. Even more so now as the greens form over three quarters of my daily menu. And I’m glad I’m going through the anti-candida detox and diet at this time of the year, as the abundance of vegetables makes it so much easier. In most cases, my salads are a combination of what’s in the kitchen at the moment, and a bit of thought of which veggies, herbs, seeds and dressings would go well together. Let’s give it a bit more method today and write it up as a recipe. Here it is, for you.

Ingredients

Serves 2
50g baby spinach
125g bunch asparagus tips
1 avocado, stoned, peeled and sliced
150g cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
A few radishes, sliced
50g pumpkin seeds, toasted
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Bring salted water to the boil in a large pan and cook asparagus for 2 minutes. Rinse under plenty of cold water and drain. Set aside.

To prepare the dressing, in a small bowl mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and chopped chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl put the fresh baby spinach leaves, cooked asparagus, avocado slices, radishes, tomatoes and toasted pumpkin seeds. Add the lemon and chives dressing and toss gently to combine.

Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!
Lena x

Avocado, asparagus and tomato salad (anti-candida)
Avocado, asparagus and tomato salad (anti-candida)




Here’s another delicious gluten-free creation. Buckwheat flour can add a very interesting nutty flavour to recipes. By far, my favourite recipe using buckwheat flour are these fabulous pancakes. In fact, I can’t imaging making them with plain flour anymore. They are just soooo much more interesting, flavoursome, delicious and healthy! My niece could eat them at any time of the day from breakfast till dinner. And so could I! Although breakfasts is probably what they’re meant for.

You could have them just with natural yogurt, but as I’m slowly reintroducing berries to my diet, I find them most delicious with blueberries and in particular roasted blueberries. Yum!

Ingredients

Serves 4
250g blueberries
Juice of half a lemon
125g buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp xylitol (or sweetener of your choice, like honey or brown sugar)
250ml kefir (or natural yogurt)
1 egg
Pinch of salt
Knob of butter for frying (or rapeseed oil if you prefer)
200ml natural yogurt to serve

Preparation

Begin by roasting the blueberries. Preheat the oven to 180 C / gas mark 4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the blueberries in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, stirring them half way through, until the berries only just start to release their juices. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with lemon juice. Mix most of the baked cranberries with natural yogurt, crashing the cranberries in the process. Set some aside for decorating.

To make the pancakes batter, in a bowl mix together all the dry ingredients for the butter (flour, xylitol, baking powder, baking soda, pinch of salt). In a separate bowl whisk together the kefir and the egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, but be careful not to over mix it, the batter should still have some small lumps.

On a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is hot, using a large tablespoon pour a little batter onto the pan, to form round pancakes about 7cm diameter. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the pancakes are ready to flip. Cook on the other side for another minute or two until golden brown.

Keep the cooked pancakes in a preheated oven (160 C / gas mark 2) to keep them warm whilst you’re making the next batch.

Once ready to serve, arrange the pancakes in stacks, and pour over natural yogurt mixed with roasted blueberries.

Serve warm.

Bon appétit!
Lena x

Buckwheat flour pancakes with blueberries
Buckwheat flour pancakes with blueberries




I like savoury tarts. Well, to be more exact, I like both sweet and savoury tarts, but today let’s focus on the savoury ones. There have been a few of them on the blog already, like the ricotta tart with vegetables, the vegan onion tart, the aubergine, courgette and tomato tart with goat’s cheese or more recently little spinach tartlets with mushrooms and Gruyère cheese. I think it’s safe to say there’s one tart on another on our home menu at least once a week. Making your own pastry really doesn’t take too long, so don’t be scared, just try it an you’ll see. And once you’ve got that, all you need is some veg for the filling combined with eggs, milk and perhaps some cheese, if you wish.

Today’s tart is special in many regards.

Starting with the fact that it’s actually square! Why? Why not! Well, the main reason for the square shape was actually quite pragmatic, I decided to make this quiche, whilst I was making a sweet berries tart (did I say I like tarts of all kind?), so my traditional tart case was already in the oven… But hey, there’s plenty more tins in my drawer, why not try a quiche made in a square, bottomless tin? It worked just as well, or maybe even better adding a twist to the dish.

It’s also gluten-free, replacing the traditional plain flour in the recipe with the rice flour and polenta, which gives the pastry nice yellow colour.

Finally, in line with my current French theme, this pastry is full of Provençal vegetables combined with goat’s milk diary, giving it a lovely French, rustic touch. Quiche Provençal one of my many favourite dishes whilst on holidays in France. So widely accessible, you can get it in a restaurant or a local bakery, warm or cold, at any time of the day. Just grab it and enjoy it.

Here’s a home-made version for you to make and enjoy.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 small courgette, sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 eggs
150ml goat’s milk
50g hard goat’s cheese
20g capers

For the pastry
100g rice flour, plus extra for dusting
100g polenta
0.5 tsp salt
100g butter, chilled (I used goat’s butter)
1 egg

Preparation

To make the pastry, sift the flour, polenta and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter, cut it with a knife and then and rub into the flour with your fingers until its structure resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and mix with a knife until the mixture comes together. On a work surface dusted with the rice flour, knead the dough lightly with your hands. Form a ball and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for about half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200 C / gas mark 6.

Take out the dough from the fridge and roll out the pastry to about 3-5mm thick, round (or square!) shape to fit the tin. Line the tin with the pastry and trim off any excess. Line the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and fill in with baking beans or uncooked rice. Put in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes. Remove the beans and the paper and cook for another 5 minutes. Once ready, take out of the oven and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in the frying pan. Add the pepper and courgette and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, capers and cherry tomatoes and cook for another minute or two. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs and the goat’s milk. Stir in grated cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180 C / gas mark 4.

Place the cooked vegetable onto the cooked pastry case and spread evenly. Pour over the egg mixture.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes until the filling is set and golden.

Serve warm or cold.

Bon appétit!
Lena x

Gluten-free Provençal quiche
Gluten-free Provençal quiche




Can there be Easter without marzipan, chocolate, cheesecake or in fact any cake? Probably so, but let’s leave it as a topic for another blogpost, maybe one day in the future.

This Easter, we’ve got marzipan, chocolate and cheesecake all combined in one recipe. Absolute indulgence.

You might be surprised too as the recipe is gluten-free with no flour added and it’s low-carb too as the sugar is replaced by sweetener. A decadent treat with no guilt attached.

Inspiration comes from the book ‘Low-Carb & Gluten-Free Vegetarian’ by Celia Brooks

Ingredients

For the base
150g ground almonds
75g butter, melted
3 tbsp sweetener (I use Splenda) or caster sugar
1 tsp almond extract
Pinch of salt

For the topping
180g cream cheese
225g mascarpone cheese
6tbsp sweetener (e.g. Splenda) or caster sugar
2 eggs
150g dark chocolate, melted
Fresh blueberries, to garnish
Dark chocolate shavings, to garnish

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 150 C / gas mark 2.

Place all the ingredients for the base and mix together to form a thick almond paste. Press firmly into the base of 20cm loose-based tin. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping.

Beat together cream cheese and mascarpone cheese in in a food processor or using a whisk. Add the sweetener or sugar and eggs and beat until smooth, then fold in the melted chocolate and mix until smooth.

Pour the chocolate cheese mixture onto the almonds base.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until set. Leave to cool in the tin. When completely cold, chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Bon appétit!
Lena x

Marzipan Chocolate Cheesecake (gluten-free)
Marzipan Chocolate Cheesecake (gluten-free)




Quail’s eggs don’t feature on our menu too often. Lovely as they are, the price versus the size comparison means they’re far from being a daily staple. And that is fine. There’s something incredibly nice about having some particular types of foods only on special occasions. Even more so now, when most of the food even fruits and vegetables are readily available all year round. I always aim to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables, as they taste best in the season, plus there’s something enjoyable in waiting for best asparagus in May or raspberries in July. And there are some special dishes meant for special occasions too, like the entire Xmas Eve dinner that tastes even better as the dishes appear on our tables only once a year (excuse the out-of-season comparison). And so, I’ve made the quail’s eggs a special treat too. And what better time to enjoy the tiny eggs than Easter? Even better if they are accompanied by some fresh spring vegetables of the season.

The salad is wonderfully simple and colourful. The secret lays in using fresh, high quality produce.

Ingredients

Serves 2

6 quail’s eggs
100g mix of green leaves – I used ruby chard, lamb’s lettuce and watercress
120g green beans
120g baby broccoli
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

In a pot, bring salted water to a boil and shortly for about 3-4 minutes cook the green beans and broccoli. Drain and rinse under plenty of cold water, so that the vegetables stay firm.

To soft boil the quail’s eggs, bring water to boil in a small pan. Place the quail’s eggs gently onto the boiling water and simmer for 1.5 minutes, remove from the heat and keep the eggs in the hot water for another minute. Rinse in plenty of cold water and then peel.

On a plate (or in a bowl) place the green leaves, top with cooked vegetables, halved tomatoes and halved eggs. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Bon appétit!
Lena x

Quail’s eggs spring salad
Quail’s eggs spring salad




Have you heard of cauliflower crust pizza? I’m sure you have! They get quite popular on blogs and social media networks every now and then. And I’m so glad for it, as it’s such a great way of swapping a floury dough for more veg!

I’m not the biggest fan of cauliflowers. Much as I liked mum’s version of cooked cauliflower with buttered bread crumbs, and recently fell in love with my friend’s raw cauliflower salad (oh, I certainly need to make a blog post with it, soon!) there isn’t an endless list of ideas in my head for the cauliflower. Yet. Perhaps I need to explore it more and find more ways of making this winter vegetable appear more often on our table. Watch this space!

For today, we’ve got our cauliflower crust pizza. Don’t expect it to be like a traditional pizza. It’s different. It’s better, if you ask me. No yeast, no gluten, just healthy veg. You can cut it into slices and they’ll hold well in your hand. And you can have fun and experiment with various toppings too.

Ingredients

For the cauliflower base:
1 cauliflower (about 750g)
100g ground almonds
2 eggs
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1 tsp salt

For the tomato sauce:
3 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 garlic clove, crushed
Freshly ground pepper

For the topping:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small aubergine, thinly sliced lengthways into long strips
1 small courgette, thinly sliced lengthways into long strips
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
0.5 red pepper, cut into slices
0.5 yellow pepper, cut into slices
1 red chili, sliced
A few fresh basil leaves

Vegetable oil for greasing

Preparation

Preheat oven to 200C/ gas mark 6.

Cut the cauliflower roughly into large pieces. Place in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped.

Heat a large frying pan (don’t add any oil), tip the chopped cauliflower onto the pan and dry-fry it for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, so that the cauliflower softens and some of the moisture evaporates.

Transfer the warm cauliflower onto a clean tea towel. With your hands, squeeze the tea towel and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the cauliflower, then transfer back to a bowl. Add the ground almonds, eggs, dried herbs and season to taste with salt.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and grease with oil. Place the cauliflower mix in the centre of the tray, then use a spoon and your hands to spread out into a 30cm round pizza base. Bake for 15-18 minutes in a preheated oven until golden brown and starting to crisp a little at the edges.

Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan, brush each aubergine slice and courgette slice on both sides with a little of the olive oil, and cook for 5-6 mins, turning once, until softened and slightly charred. Transfer to a plate and cook the remaining slices – you’ll need to do this in batches.

Griddle the onion wedges and pepper slices for 2-3 minutes.

To make the tomato sauce, in a small bowl mix the tomato purée, garlic and the oregano, adding a little water.

Once the cauliflower base is cooked, spread the tomato sauce over the base.
Arrange the vegetables on the top and bake for another 10-12 minutes.

Take out from the oven and cut into slices, using a pizza cutter.

Bon appétit!
Lena x

Cauliflower Crust Pizza (gluten free, diary free)
Cauliflower Crust Pizza (gluten free, diary free)




Every day is a good day for a romantic dinner. I can always find a reason for one. I made this one first time some time ago, when without a known reason there was a bottle of Prosecco waiting for me at home. I used some of it to prepare this delicious dinner. It takes just half an hour to prepare and will impress the most sophisticated diners. Best served at a candlelit dinner.

Ingredients

Serves 2
10g butter
15ml truffle oil
2 shallots finely chopped
Pinch of saffron strands
150g risotto rice
250ml Prosecco
500ml light vegetable stock
100ml double cream
40g freshly grounded vegetarian parmesan cheese
2 tbsp pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Heat the truffle oil and butter in a large heavy-based pan. Add the shallots and cook for about 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the rice and saffron strands and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly until the rice grains are coated with butter and truffle oil.

Slowly add most of the Prosecco and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the liquid has been absorbed by rice.

Add the vegetable stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently, making sure that the stock has been absorbed before adding more. This will take about 20 minutes and the risotto will become creamy and all the stock should be absorbed and rice should be tender.

Pour the remaining Prosecco, the double cream, freshly grated vegetarian parmesan and pine nuts. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to stand for a few minutes.

Garnish with a few parmesan shavings and season to taste with freshly ground pepper.

Serve warm, with a glass of Prosecco.

Bon appétit!
Lena x

Romantic Dinner – Prosecco and Parmesan Risotto
Romantic Dinner – Prosecco and Parmesan Risotto




It’s time to take down festive decorations. It’s been wonderful, it’s been jolly. Let’s keep this cheerful mood for a little longer. To keep that festive atmosphere in the air, how about an indulgent cake full of wintery scents and flavours. It’s such an indulgent and moist cake, it’s actually hard to believe it’s got no fat and no diary within it. Definitely one that will appear on our table more often throughout the year.

Ingredients

3 oranges
6 eggs
225g xylitol
200g ground almonds
75g polenta
25g wholegrain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Seeds of 8 cardamom pods, crushed
25g flaked almonds
A few orange slices for decoration

Preparation

Put the whole oranges in a large pan, cover with water and boil, covered, for about 1 hour until a knife easily pierces them. You might want to place a small plate directly on top of the oranges to keep them submerged. Remove the oranges from the water and cool.


Quarter the oranges and remove any seeds and any larger white chunks from the middle.


Pulse the oranges in a food processor to a rough purée and place it in a large bowl.


Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Line a 21cm round, loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper.


Beat the crushed cardamom seeds, xylitol and eggs into the orange purée. Fold in the ground almonds, the polenta, wholegrain flour and baking powder, until well combined.


Place the mixture into the tin, level the top and bake for 40 mins.


After 40 minutes, place the orange slices on top of the cake and sprinkle with the almond flakes. Return to the oven and bake for another 20-25 mins until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.


Remove from the tin and leave to cool.

Bon appétit!
Lena x

Orange and cardamom cake (dairy-free and sugar-free)
Orange and cardamom cake (dairy-free and sugar-free)




A healthy and hearty soup that’s full of protein and nutrients from the chickpeas, spinach and tomato. It’s equally delicious in the winter season as it is on a warm summer day. Bringing the earthy aromas and flavours thanks to the spices, I can just imagine having a spoonful of it somewhere in a remote Moroccan village. The simplicity of ingredients means that you’ll most probably have everything to hand so can make this soup at any time. It’s actually more than a soup though. It’s a one-pot meal that will satisfy anyone.

Ingredients

400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
400g canned chopped tomatoes
100g fresh spinach, chopped
500ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve
100ml Greek yogurt
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, cumin seeds and chilli flakes and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.


Add the chickpeas and the tomatoes, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.


Add the spinach and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the spinach has wilted.


To make the dressing, mix the Greek yogurt with fresh coriander leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper.


Serve the soup warm with a dollop of yogurt dressing.

Bon appétit!
Lena x

Chickpea and spinach soup
Chickpea and spinach soup




How are your Christmas preparations going? Have you planned your festive menu yet? What are your favourite dishes? The ones you need to have for Christmas to happen?

For me, the magic of Christmas is the magic of childhood and the childhood memories. It’s about being present, being with the closest ones. It’s all about celebrating the traditions and following the customs. It’s knowing that wherever I am in the world, family will follow the same rituals on the day of the Christmas Eve. There will be a little bit of hay under the festive table cloth, there will be an extra space on the table, for any unexpected visitors, and surely my dad will look out for the first star on the sky before announcing it’s time for the festive dinner.

And there will certainly be twelve traditional dishes on the table. Each of them reminding me of all the Christmas Eve dinners shared with the closest ones every year. With so much choice, everyone will surely find something delicious for themselves. As for me, I relish every single one of them. After all, you don’t get to eat them at any other time of the year.

First comes the red beet soup, accompanied by tiny ‘uszka’ filled with dried mushrooms. Then come all the sauerkraut dishes, with dried mushrooms, prunes or split peas. You can choose between sauerkraut with porcini mushrooms, or sauerkraut with split peas, or perhaps croquettes or pierogi with, guess what, sauerkraut and mushroom fillings. Plus, obviously, there is the Polish stew too. Moving towards more sweet dishes, we have the kutia with poppy seeds and dried fruit and nuts, accompanied by dried fruit compote. And finally, the unquestionable highlight of the evening – my grandma’s Christmas parcels with various fillings, sweet and savoury; I’m not sure how popular they are in other families, as I’ve never seen them in any recipes books or website, which makes them even more special for me, as special as my beloved grandma.

Here are my twelve dishes for a vegetarian Christmas Eve:
(click on the name to see the recipe)


Christmas Eve red beet soup

Uszka – Christmas Eve dumplings

Sauerkraut with porcini mushrooms

Sauerkraut with split peas

Croquettes with sauerkraut and mushrooms

Pierogi with sauerkraut and dried mushrooms

Vegetarian bigos – Polish stew

Christmas pie with pumpkin, spinach and buckwheat

Grandma’s Christmas parcels with three fillings

Kutia

Dried fruit compote

Christmas gingerbread cookies

May the enchantment of the magical Christmas Eve night be with you and your loved ones.

Bon appétit!
Lena x

Twelve dishes for a traditional, vegetarian, Polish Christmas Eve
Twelve dishes for a traditional, vegetarian, Polish Christmas Eve