Latest Posts

kale pesto

Pesto with kale and spruce sprouts

I love veggie spreads: hummus, pesto, tapenade; you name it. What’s also great about them is that you can experiment around a basic recipe almost endlessly. So, here is a recipe for an absolutely delicious kale pesto with a crisp, full flavour. Spread it on bread or seed cracker, serve with roasted vegetables or add to a pasta sauce. I understand that not everyone has spruce sprouts available (I collected and froze some last year) and while they add that sharp tangy edge to this pesto, they are not essential to make a savory pesto following the rest of the recipe.

kale pesto

 Makes about 4 dl

150g fresh kale

2 tbsp frozen or fresh spruce sprouts

2 dl sunflower seeds

2 cloves of garlic (go on, throw in a third, if you love garlic!)

zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

1 dl of olive oil (add more if needed)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp of honey

Toast the sunflower seeds in a frying pan on high heat, mixing often as they roast quickly. When the seeds have a light brown colour and they give a nice toasty smell, remove from heat. Wash the kale leaves, remove the hard stems and chop into pieces. Toss the kale and the sunflower seeds into a blender or food processor.

Grate the lemon peel and squeeze the lemon juice into the blender. Chop the garlic and add into the mix. Add spruce sprouts, honey, salt and finally the olive oil on top.

Blend into a smooth paste. I left mine a bit chunky but you can blend more for a smoother consistency. Store in a clean container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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life with less plastic: Shampoo & Soap

I thought I had been conscious about using plastic for years: I avoided taking plastic bags in shops and favoured natural materials when choosing clothes and home decoration items. But some months ago there was a big turning point for me. One evening, after I’d cleaned my face, my favourite moisturizer ran out. I had seen this coming and had a new pump bottle ready in the bathroom cabinet. As I threw the empty bottle into the trash bin it made a sound as it hit the empty metal basket. With the new bottle of moisturizer in hand, it hit me: That old bottle will never go away. It will never biodegrade, and even if it will be out of my sight when the truck comes to pick up the trash next week, it will never disappear. It will be one more piece of plastic waste and contribute to the ever-growing dumps or floating plastic masses in the oceans. It was a realization I couldn’t ignore and I decided to do more to reduce my contribution to the plastic problem.

This morning I read in the news about a whale that had washed to the shore in Norway in such a bad state it had to be put down. When the whale was examined, it turned out that it’s stomach was full of plastic bags. Feeling very emotional about this news I decided to sit down with a cup of tea and read an article from Michael Stone’s book Awake in the World. The page that opened randomly read: “… Because we can’t surgically separate the thoughts you are having right now from the colors of this room or the icebergs that silently glide thousands of miles north and south of here, everything you experience right now is one. Everything in the world is the ground of our life.”

The thoughts and values that drive my actions, the plastic waste, the suffering whale, it’s all connected, it’s all happening in the here and now. So, I’ll continue to make efforts to reduce my impact with small everyday choices and also share them here if they can inspire anyone to do the same 🙂

So, let’s start with shampoo and soap – lots of plastic bottles right there! I’ve been using natural products from the bio shop for years but even they come in those damn bottles and often have chemicals in them. Last summer I switched into bar soap & shampoo and I’ve been super happy with the products I’ve found!

Shampoo

There are many shampoo bars on the market. At first the thought of using a shampoo bar felt strange and I remember trying it for the first time a couple of years ago in Brussels. The water in Brussels is very hard and my hair was left a bit sticky. Many brands advice that this is normal in the beginning, when your hair and your scalp are getting used to the new, more organic way of cleaning, and the stickiness will disappear after a while. The commercial shampoos might have left some residue of silicon and other chemical stuff that will take some washes to remove. The hardness of water also plays a role in how your hair feels after a shampoo bar wash. You can always do a baking soda treatment ( 1 tsp mixed in warm water and spread evenly on the hair, then rinse and wash your hair with the shampoo bar) if your hair feels weird during the adaptation period.

I love the Avocado oil shampoo from Estonian brand Nurme. Waiting to be tested are a Hemp oil shampoo also from Nurme and a Hemp & Turf shampoo from Finnish FLOW Cosmetics. The shampoo bars are also very affordable with prices starting around 4-5 eur.

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If you’re not sold on shampoo bars, don’t worry: there are some alternatives out there! Natura Siberica makes a shampoo and body wash that comes in a glass bottle, which can later be recycled or used as a container for something else.

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Soap

During our trip to Portugal last summer I stocked up on soap. The classic Claus Porto soaps are beautifully packaged and come in so many scents that it’s hard to choose from them. They make a great gift as well. Simply the perfect hand soaps for the bathroom!

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And by the kitchen sink we have a marseille soap with white tea from Pentik, a Christmas gift from my father.

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As a body wash I often use the shampoo bar as well, but I’m looking forward to trying out the Super foaming coconut soap from Nurme. It has two ingredients: Coconut oil and water, how cool is that!?

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Face soap

My biggest skepticism about switching to bar soap was about face cleansing. I imagined that a soap bar would dry out the skin and not remove make up efficiently. I was wrong. So far, I have two favourites: The detox soap bar from Madara and the blueberry face soap from Flow Cosmetics. Both products are designed with an oily/combination skin in mind, but there are alternatives for all skin types on the market. And what comes to the eye make-up, if anything is left on your face after cleansing, some coconut oil and cotton wool will take care of that!

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Another alternative to wash your face without turning to plastic bottles, tubes and jars is a natural Konjac sponge that promises to cleanse, exfoliate and detoxify the skin. You soak the sponge in warm water for a few minutes before use and then cleanse the face with it in circular motion, with or without soap. Rinse, squeeze and hang to dry after use and change the sponge every couple of months. I got a sponge that also has bamboo charcoal and is suitable for combination skin. Ekovista has alternatives for different skin types, and all of them come in stylish card board packaging.

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Hopefully you’ll enjoy creating your own new bathroom rituals with less plastic ❤

tabouleh salad with cauliflower

Last week I made a tabouleh salad using Finnish organic quinoa. The end result was a sticky, gooey porridge. It got eaten, but not with a big smile. This time, I decided to try cauliflower instead and Yes, now we’re talking! This recipe is raw, simple and quick to make, so even better.

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Side dish for 4-6 people:

1 middle-sized cauliflower

1 small red onion or 1/2 of a bigger one

1/2 cucumber

2 large, firm tomatoes

1 bunch of  fresh flat leaf parsley

1/2 bunch of fresh mint

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp ground cumin

salt & pepper to taste

Wash and chop the cauliflower florets into fine pieces or use a food processor to grind it. Do the same with the peeled red onion, flat leaf parsley and mint. Mix them all in a bowl.

Remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Chop them into small cubes and add to the mix.

Cut the 1/2 cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the watery seeds part with a tea spoon. Cut the cucumbers in small cubes & toss them into the salad.

Squeeze in the lemon juice, add the cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

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6 years of 3Rooms+Kitchen

Thank you WordPress for reminding me, it’s been 6 years of 3Rooms+Kitchen today!

6 years ago I had just moved into my apartment on Rue Alfred Cluysenaar in Brussels. Since then it’s been 3 apartments and 3 countries, active and less active times with the blog. Life has been about searching: for my place, my professional calling, my passion. Maybe there is someone out there who has had the patience to follow me from the very beginning?!

During these 6 years the changes in my life, my values and my interests are apparent. From busy and active city life to a more quiet, calm life in the countryside. The Dior pumps have changed into rubber boots, the brunches in busy cafes into gluten-free homemade breakfast enjoyed at our own rustic kitchen table.

I got married. I left my job at the office, I took risks, I dreamed big. I struggled, I cried but I always somehow made it through, and grew. I’m still growing, and my life is looking more and more like me. I love teaching yoga, I love cooking plant based food for groups and retreats, I love sharing my lifestyle with the others who live in this community. I have a new family around me.

Now I’m sitting at the kitchen table, snow is dancing outside in the dimming light of the afternoon. Life is in constant movement, like the dance of the snow. There is always a flow, there is always beauty, there is always growth, and there are always new adventures about to unravel.

In 2017 3Rooms+Kitchen will be all about good food, sustainability, DIY, aesthetics, nature, travels and creativity. I hope you’ll accompany me on this journey.

Love,

Am

 

the nutty loaf

I’ve never been a big bread-baker but I’ve always loved those artisan breads that rustle as I break their crust with my fingers and smell their soft, airy interior…mmmmm. Well, since I went gluten-free about 6 months ago, I’ve been happy that I don’t live in Brussels anymore. The smell of warm bread, croissants and pain au chocolate that lingers on the streets would’ve been too much to take during the withdrawal period.

So, since I chucked gluten, I’ve been mostly relying on expensive store-bought bread that is usually on the dry side, and on home made seed crackers. But I decided that this year, 2017, would be a year of gluten-free baking, of mastering the bread and pastries without wheat.

Let’s start with this nutty loaf bread. This is the first attempt, so perhaps we’ll get back to this one later in the year. But all in all, it’s pretty good 🙂 Give it a try and taste for yourself!

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Makes 1 loaf of bread

3,5 dl gluten-free rolled oats

2 dl sunflower seeds

1 dl flaxseed meal

1 dl nuts (I just had peanuts, but you could use hazelnut, pecan, walnuts…)

2  heaping tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp sesame seeds

0,5 dl buckwheat flour

3 tbsp psyllium powder

1 tsp salt

pinch of black pepper

***

1 tbsp organic honey (agave syrup for 100% vegan bread)

0,5 dl vegetable oil (canola oil or olive oil)

3,5-4dl hot water

a bowl, a towel and a bread loaf baking dish (silicon or a metal one, lined with baking paper)

***

Mix all the dry ingredients well in a bowl. Pour them into the baking dish.

Mix all the wet ingredients and pour into the baking dish. Mix very well, also from the bottom so that the water is absorbed evenly and add a bit more water if needed to form a thick, heavy paste. Tap the bread mix evenly to the baking dish using a spoon. Wrap the baking dish in a kitchen towel and let it sit in room temperature for 3-5 hours.

Then heat the over to 175◦c, remove the towel and place the baking dish in the middle part of the oven on the grate. Bake for 30 minutes.

Then remove the bread from the baking dish and place it directly on the oven grate in the middle part of the oven for another 40-50 minutes until the bread is firm and has a nice caramel brown colour.

Remove from the oven and let the bread cool in room temperature before cutting. Store in a container in the fridge or cut into slices and freeze. This bread works well toasted for a real breakfast treat!

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reflections

Last night in a dream I was walking under the high ceilings of our Brussels apartment. My key still fit the door and the evening light was flooding in like it always did at dinner time. The house was empty, it was resting in the in-between, waiting for new life to put flesh on its bones.

We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away, someone said.

Do those rooms, those streets corners, those cafés and market places carry my reflections? Can something in me be found only by going back there? What would such a meeting be like?

christmas meal for 2

This year we decided to stay home for Christmas, just the two of us. 2016 has been a busy year full of challenges and changes and it felt good to take some time to relax, enjoy good food, read and discuss and play some board games. I made a vegetarian version of the traditional Karelian hot pot using pulled oats and gluten/free ginger bread adapting my grandmother’s recipe, a childhood favourite. We were lucky to have some snow for the weekend and we took our boots out for a walk in the forest.  Wishing everyone peaceful and heartwarming holidays ❤

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apple & lingonberry crumble

An easy apple crumble used to be my mother’s go-to dessert when I was a child. It always tasted best on Friday nights with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. This warm dessert is perfect for this season as it has those flavours of the autumn harvest and christmassy cinnamon.

Serves 4

the Base

3-4 sweet apples

0,5 dl frozen lingonberries

2 tbsp coconut sugar or organic raw cane sugar

1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

1 tbsp of organic butter

the Crumble

2 dl of organic, gluten-free rolled oats

70 g of organic butter

1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

1 tbsp coconut sugar or organic raw cane sugar

the Topping

Whipped soy cream or oat vanilla sauce on top

Other

Non-stick frying pan & an oven dish

2 tbsp gluten-free breadcrumbs

Heat the oven to 225°c. Using your fingers, butter the inside of the oven dish with butter and a thin layer of gluten-free bread crumbs.

Wash and peel the apples. Remove the core & seeds and cut them in wedges. If you use organic apples, you don’t need to peel them. Toss the apple wedges, a table spoon of butter , 1 tsp of the cinnamon and 2 tbsp of the sugar on a non-stick pan and sauté them for 3-5min. Remove the apples from heat, mix in the lingonberries. Layer the apples and berries on the bottom of the oven dish.

Mix the oats, the cinnamon and the sugar in a bowl. Cut in the soft butter with your fingers and mix thoroughly. Pour the crumble evenly in the oven dish to cover the apple & berry layer.

Bake for 15 minutes on the bottom part of the oven, until the top looks a bit toasted.

Enjoy with whipped cream or vanilla sauce of your choice.

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small raw coconut-chocolate treats

I love raw deserts and especially the little raw balls, which we call “voimapallot” in Finnish; Voima means power or strength. Easy to make and just sweet enough, these small treats make a delicious desert or a snack on-the-go. I needed to make desert for a dinner party tonight. I had “nothing” in my cupboard, very little time and I need to go to the dinner straight after an evening yoga class. So, these little treats saved the day, they’re waiting for the evening in the fridge (expect those two that I absolutely needed to eat immediately, just to make sure they are ok 😉 )

This recipe makes 20

125 g pitted dates

0,75 dl coconut oil

2 tbs espresso coffee

1,5 dl gluten-free oats

3 tbs raw cacao powder

1 tbs chia seeds

pinch of salt

pinch of vanilla

coconut flakes (or more cacao powder) to decorate

Soak the dates for 30min-1h if necessary (you can buy dates that are soft enough to use as-is, but you might need to soak them in water, then squeeze the excess water out before use). Melt the coconut oil. In a bowl, mix the oats, cacao powder, chia seeds, salt and vanilla. Add the cooled coffee, coconut oil and dates. Mix with a spoon or a fork, pressing the mixture to form a sticky paste.

When the paste is ready, take a serving tray or oven tray lined with parchment. Pour some coconut flakes into a small cup. Start scooping out some paste and use your hands to roll small balls. Roll the balls in coconut flakes, gently tapping the coconut to stick onto them.

Place the tray into the fridge for at least an hour and take it out 30 min before serving. The balls keep in the fridge for a few days, if for some reason they won’t get eaten before that, which I doubt.

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