Sunday, 5 December 2010

spice bread (loaf)

© Lisa Hjalt | Lunch & Latte
Please find the spice loaf / bread recipe on my blog Lunch & Latte (follow the link).

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

beans with garam masala

Beans with garam masala is a side dish that is very easy to prepare and you can use either pinto beans or chickpeas. I made this simple recipe a long time ago and it became one of those instant hits among family members. The side dish goes well with, for example, chicken, rice, and mango chutney. I often serve rice or brown rice with meals but I admit that I tend to get tired of plain cooked rice. Therefore, I often mix the beans with the rice to add a different flavour (garam masala, a blend of ground spices, is a common ingredient in Indian and South Asian cooking). When combined with rice you have a wonderful vegetarian dish that you can serve with a salad, the beans adding fullness to the rice. Sometimes I do not add all the beans to the rice but keep some in a small bowl as a side dish for those who really like the taste of cooked beans.



  • 250 ml water (1 cup)
  • ½-1 vegetable stock cube, yeast free
  • 1 can (400 g) pinto beans or chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala


  1. Rinse and drain the beans
  2. In a large frying pan, put all the ingredients, stir to dissolve the stock cube, and bring to the boil (it does not take a long time and you do not have to cover the pan). Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, making sure the fluid doesn't dry up
  3. Finally, put the dish into a small bowl and serve as a side dish or blend it with cooked rice (I cook 200-300 g of rice (1-1½ cups), put them in a large bowl and combine the beans)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

french chocolate cake

This is my first recipe; the first cake I made healthier. French chocolate cakes are my absolute favourite but for my taste the common recipes include way too much sugar, butter, and even chocolate. It has been some time since I changed my baking habits, e.g. I replace butter with coconut oil, and I use much less, and I always decrease the fat and sugar content in recipes. I think it was early in 2008 that I decided to experiment with a healthier version of a French chocolate cake. After many experiments, my friend (Cafe)Sigrun helped me to complete the recipe. She was the one who suggested the cashew butter and I'm so grateful because it's perfect for this cake. I have got quite many praises for the cake, which encourages me to continue on this path (I have created another French chocolate cake recipe that doesn't contain nuts and I'll share it later).



  • 10 pitted dates
  • 50 g cashew nuts (100 ml)
  • 4 tablespoons cashew nuts + 4 tbsp coconut oil (to make cashew butter) OR 2 tablespoons organic cashew butter + 4 tablespoons coconut oil OR 6 tablespoons coconut oil (if the oil is solid, place the jar in a bowl of hot water before use)***
  • 140-175 g fine raw cane sugar, organic
  • 1 egg, free-range or organic
  • 1 egg white
  • 65 g spelt flour (½ cup)
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, organic/fair-trade
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, gluten free (½ tsp if using regular)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or organic vanilla sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • a few chopped walnuts (optional)
  • luxury edition: 20-25 g organic dark chocolate

*** You can also use 4 tbsp coconut oil and 2 tbsp organic peanut butter.


  1. Soak the dates and 50 g cashew nuts in water for 30 minutes
  2. If you want to make the cake with home-made cashew butter, place the 4 tbsp cashew nuts in a food processor and mix for one minute or longer, until they become very finely ground and slightly oily in texture. Add the 4 tbsp coconut oil, one tablespoon at a time, and mix for 30 seconds or so. Set aside. If you use store bought organic cashew butter with coconut oil or 6 tbsp coconut oil only, you simply skip this step
  3. Chop the walnuts and chocolate (if used) in the food processor. Set aside
  4. Drain the dates and cashew nuts, place in the food processor and mix for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue blending for 5-10 seconds or until the mixture is smooth. (You can also mix the walnut and chocolate with the dates and cashew nuts.)
  5. In a medium bowl, mix the raw cane sugar, egg, egg white, vanilla essence, and the cashew nut paste you just made (or 6 tbsp coconut oil), using a whisk or a fork
  6. In another bowl, sift together the spelt flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Use a rubber spatula to mix it slowly with the wet ingredients
  7. Add the walnuts, chocolate (if used), and the mixed dates and cashew nuts to the batter, fold 2-3 times
  8. Line a small spring form cake tin, no larger than 23 cm (9 inch), with baking parchment and pour the batter into it
  9. Place in the oven and allow to bake for 12-15 minutes at 180°C/350°F/gas 4. It’s very important not to bake the cake longer or it will become dry
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. The cake will be very moist, almost runny in the middle. Serve with whipped cream and even some berries

Thursday, 16 September 2010

dried fruit confectionery

If you think confectionery is something you can enjoy only occasionally then I am the bearer of good news. This lovely treat is packed with healthy ingredients so you can enjoy it every day without the feeling of guilt. I found the recipe in a Danish magazine called Bolig in 2008 and it became an instant favourite. I have not changed anything except that I use organic ingredients. Organic apricots, the brown ugly ones, are unsulphured but the orange, good-looking ones are not, so I recommend using organic. These are real treats with coffee and they are ideal for the snack box.



  • 100 g dried organic apricots
  • 100 g pitted dates
  • 100 g desiccated coconut (I use coarse rather than fine)
  • ½ teaspoon organic vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
  • 25 g cocoa powder, organic/fair-trade
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil (I use 2 tbsp - if solid, place the jar in a bowl of hot water before use)
  • desiccated coconut or cocoa powder for coating


  1. Soak the apricots and dates in water for 30 minutes
  2. Drain the fruits and place in a food processor along with the desiccated coconut and blend for about 30 seconds
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well in the food processor
  4. Take a small portion of the mixture, mould it into small balls and roll them in desiccated coconut or cocoa powder
  5. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container and serve straight from the fridge


  • I have made these with 50 g almonds and 50 g desiccated coconut. I soaked the almonds with the fruits and then I added 2 walnuts in the food processor. The confectionery tasted really good. Some of it I rolled in desiccated coconut and some I did not coat.
  • Sometimes I skip rolling the confectionery in desiccated coconut/cocoa powder. Instead I melt organic chocolate (in a bowl over low heat) and dip the confectionery into the chocolate, either completely or partially. I let it sit on parchment paper before refrigerating.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

lasagne with kidney beans

Again we have a recipe inspired by my daughter Maria. To say that she loves lasagne would be an understatement. At restaurants we don't have to ask her what she's having; she's having lasagne as long as it's on the menu. I have to admit that I'm not particularly fond of lasagne with minced beef, so I decided it was time to make my own recipe, a vegetarian version with beans and a mild chilli sauce. The white sauce is based on a sauce from my foodie friend (Cafe)Sigrun. This dish has become one of our favourites (excellent for Meat Free Monday if you're involved) and is for dinner whenever Maria is allowed to choose.




  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 yellow or red pepper, diced
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, yeast free
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (2 x 400 g)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chilli
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon raw cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (Modena) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 can kidney beans or black beans (400 g)
  • pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • optional: sweetcorn, as much as preferred
  • optional: a handful of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped


  • 450 g cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs, free-range/organic
  • 280 g grated cheese (mozzarella or mild cheddar or whatever you like)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg


  • 120 g grated cheese (mozzarella or mild cheddar or whatever you like)
  • optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • approx. 250 g dried lasagne sheets (preferably organic)



  1. Rinse and drain the beans and keep them in a colander until ready to use
  2. In a large frying pan over medium heat, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the pepper and garlic and fry for a few more minutes
  3. Add the vegetable stock cube and mix together
  4. Add the tomatoes, turn up the heat and bring to the boil
  5. Add all the spices, sugar and vinegar
  6. Finally add the beans (and sweetcorn + spinach if using) and season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer while you prepare the white sauce


  1. In a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese and eggs
  2. Add the 280 g cheese and nutmeg

  1. Preheat the oven according to the lasagne sheet package directions (adjust oven rack to lowest position)
  2. Remove the frying pan from the cooker. Use a ladle to pour a thin layer of red sauce into a lasagne dish (there is no need to completely cover the bottom) and cover with lasagne sheets
  3. Add a thin layer of white sauce, followed by a layer of the red sauce and cover with lasagne sheets. Repeat the layers as often as you like (some people prefer many layers) and finish with the rest of the white and red sauce
  4. Cover with the 120 g cheese and sprinkle the Parmesan on top
  5. Cook in the preheated oven according to the lasagne sheet package directions (the lasagne sheets I have used so far call for 220°C/425°F/gas 7 for 25)

Serve with, for example, simple salad, homemade whole grain bread or garlic bread. When making garlic bread, sometimes I make yeast free pizza dough and place the pizza base in the oven about 8 minutes before the lasagne is done. When I remove the base from the oven, I pencil it with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, oregano and sea salt, and use a pizza cutter to slice it.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

chocolate tray bake

I have to be honest, choosing the first recipe for kitchen & aroma was a thinker (first impression, you know). There are simply too many recipes to choose from. When discussing this with my foodie friend, CafeSigrun, we agreed that it had to be something simple and definitely have the word chocolate in it. So, we agreed on my chocolate tray bake. It's simple and it's easy to prepare, and the most important thing: it's delicious! The photo of the frosting may also be familiar to some as it has been on the Facebook and Twitter profiles. I like making my own recipes and sometimes, as with this one, the first try is a hit. My daughter Maria asked me so kindly to make a chocolate cake with no almonds, nuts, or dates (common ingredients in healthy cake recipes) and it seems as if I delivered 100%. I hope you like it as much as we and our friends do. The recipe contains no butter and there is only one tablespoon of coconut oil in the base. The cake is rather small but in my opinion chocolate tray bakes are very filling; I at least can never eat much of them.



  • 100 g raw cane sugar (½ cup)
  • 1 large egg, free-range or organic
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave syrup
  • optional: 1 tablespoon coffee, hot or cold (I use a rather strong brew)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (from a health food store)
  • 3-4 tablespoons cocoa powder, organic/fair-trade
  • 1 tablespoons coconut oil (if solid, place the jar in a bowl of hot water before use)
  • 130 g spelt flour (1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder, gluten free (1 tsp if using regular)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) plain or Greek yoghurt
  • 4-5 tablespoons (60-75 ml) lukewarm water
  • desiccated coconut for decoration


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, egg, agave syrup, coffee and vanilla essence thoroughly with a whisk. Add the cocoa powder and whisk gently
  2. Add the coconut oil and mix well with a spatula
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the spelt flour, baking powder and salt and pour into the wet mixture. Do not stir, just use the spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients in until there is no flour remaining at the bottom
  4. Blend the yoghurt with 4 tablespoons of water, add into the bowl and mix gently. The texture of the batter should resemble yoghurt. Add one more tablespoon of water if you need to
  5. Line a 25 cm/10 in square baking tray with baking parchment, pour the batter into it and use a spatula to even it out (the height of the baking tray should be about 5 cm/2 in)
  6. Place in the oven and allow to bake for 24-28 minutes at 170-175°C/325°C/gas mark 3. Make the frosting while the cake is in the oven
  7. Allow to cool in the baking tray on a wire rack for 30 minutes before adding the frosting, then sprinkle with desiccated coconut


This is an easy to make chocolate frosting that I especially put together for my chocolate tray bake. I recommend preparing the frosting while the tray bake is in the oven.


  • 3 tablespoons fine raw cane sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons coffee, hot or cold
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or organic vanilla sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons agave syrup or pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • pinch of fine sea salt


  1. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa and sugar with a spoon
  2. Add the vanilla essence, coffee and water and stir gently
  3. Add the agave syrup and coconut oil, then the salt to taste. The texture of the frosting should be smooth and spreadable
  4. Allow the frosting to remain in the bowl at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before covering the cake

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