happy homecoming

30 Mar

After three hectic weeks in Finland I made it back home. And when I say home, I mean as home as can be, for I am in the house where a rosé champagne bottle was happily opened after I was born one cold night in 1985. My mother still lives here and I love coming back to this place. After all my travels, moving abroad, living like a gypsy and having my backpack as the one thing closest to a ‘home’ for quite a while; I absolutely love being here and feeling at home.

The raw food dinners were a great success! The first weekend was quite a busy one, with dinners on Friday and Saturday and a raw chocolate workshop on Sunday. It was such a wonderful experience to be welcomed into peoples homes and bring a part of ‘me’ there. We made sure to set up the table before the guests arrived, working together with the host of the evening. The tables eventually ended up looking something like this

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We worked with different themes; the other dinners all turned out to be girls nights, so the second weekend we went for a pink theme, using pink menus, food and flowers.

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I have to say I absolutely love how these days you can so easily make these beautiful photo collages with a phone! As one of the last inhabitants of our planet who has no smartphone I was very happy to receive the pictures of my happy guests. Thank you girls! Photographing is one of my biggest hobbies so these kind of things always make my artistic heart beat a bit faster… :)

The sushi picture that I couldn’t post earlier is here now:

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Raw sushi is a dish that’s really easy to make, but due to its colorful and fancy looks it always turns out looking all pretty and nice. The avocado-ginger-orange sauce was perfect with it.

During the week I spent most of my time meeting up with friends, enjoying the beautiful nature and breathing in as much of the clean Finnish air as I could. Spring was well on its way and the sun was shining bright every day. The second weekend we had two dinners again and I came up with a different menu. For starters we had three different kinds of raw ravioli. One was a beetroot ravioli stuffed with cheesy cashew cream, the other was sesame marinated daikon ravioli with carrot-coconut cream and the last was a tower of cucumber slices filled with beetroot-wasabi spread. The last was my personal favorite; the combination of the sweet beetroot and sharp wasabi with the fresh cucumber and the combination of colors really makes it into a pretty treat :)

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As a main I got inspired by a recipe I found on the web. I made a little tart from a nutty bottom layer, then a white wine-tarragon-cashew cream with chives and marinated mushrooms, followed by some fresh tomato and pesto and another layer of the cashew cream, topped with some more marinated mushrooms and sprouts. It looks amazing but the taste is absolutely divine! The white wine tarragon combination is one I hadn’t tried before since I usually avoid using anything alcoholic in my dishes, but I’m very happy I tried it since it was truly mouthwatering

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For dessert I made a pie. I got some young coconuts from the asian shop so I made a filling with the meat and juice of the coconut, blueberries, coconut oil, cashew nuts a bit of beetroot juice and vanilla powder, sweetened with maple syrup. The sauce was made of blended blueberries, some beetroot, vanilla and agave and for the bottom I precessed soaked almonds, hazelnuts and dates with a pinch of salt. The beetroot gives a very nice color to both the pie and the sauce.

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Everybody involved had a great time, me especially. I absolutely love doing what I have been doing the last few weeks and the enthusiasm of all the lovely people I met has been truly inspiring and motivating me to continue following my path this way.

I’m super excited about the things coming up in the future and can’t wait to host more dinners! If anybody’s interested in having one, no matter where on the planet you are, don’t hesitate to contact me at rawluscious@gmail.com. :)

Recipes are still to follow, I’m not totally happy with the layout of the site so far so I’m going to have take my time to make some changes and post everything in the right place. I am worse than most women when it comes to technology or anything that has something to do with it so this kind of stuff takes me a while… The better the victory feels when I finally get it done though! :)

Have an absolute wonderful easter everyone!

Lots of love from HOME

Raw dinner excitement

16 Mar

It’s been a while since the last post! A lot has been going on and I am stoked to post a few updates here!

At the moment I am in one of my favorite European countries.. Finland! Outside there’s a truly magnificent winter wonder land on display; where after a long dark winter the sun is now shining every day and the nature seems to slowly be waking up from her winter sleep.. Spring is on it’s a way…! I went for a walk on the sea the other day with my friends and their bull terrier and we were blessed with a sky so blue I don’t remember seeing a color like that ever before. It would be impossible to paint!

 

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Besides going for walks and taking turns in running with the dog to tire him out a bit, which usually results in us being more tired than him, we have been busy planning some raw dinners.

Earlier this year me and some of my fellow raw foodies organized a few dinners in Holland, and now it was time for me to visit Helsinki and nourish some of it’s lovely citizens with several course raw dinners. My goal is to give a nice introduction to raw food and show what possibilities lay in the raw kitchen to those who are not so familiar with it yet and simply provide a high class dinner with beautifully presented dishes. And to those who are already more at home in the raw field, well, what better way to spend an evening than throwing a dinner for friends in the safe surroundings of your own home, with the entire several course healthy meal all taken care off? ;)

The raw kitchen goes way beyond eating salads and celery sticks and by offering these dinners I hope to inspire people to get a bit more into healthy food, since the days healthy food has to be boring and blunt are way behind. These days us modern hippies indulge in scrumptious, fancy, tasty, crisp and colorful creations of all kinds and the possibilities are endless. Fresh juices, amazing fruits, colorful soups, crispy crackers, savory snacks, cookies, creamy pies, potent chocolate bars, chocolates with fillings of all kinds… I could go on for hours…

Last night was the kick off of our Helsinki dinner tour, and it was a lovely evening. As we were doing the final preparations we were interviewed for the Finnish radio, so it seems I’ll be on the radio for the first time, on a Finnish morning show, talking about my passion for raw food! How great is that?!

Our dinner guests had never eaten an  all-raw meal before, so it was very exciting for me to be their first introduction to it. After a small shot of gazpacho as an appetizer their 3-course dinner consisted of the following:

Sushi rolls filled with nut-‘rice’ and chopped veggies, served with a sesame-orange dip sauce and a side of marinated cucumber and radish

Lasagna with sundried tomato marinara sauce, hazelnut pesto and spiced sunflower seeds

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Coconut-mango-passion tarts

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And here’s a shot of the gazpacho

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I’m hoping to get a better shot of the sushi tonight, so I’ll post that later. The recipes will also follow later!

It’s getting quite late now and I need to catch some sleep to be as fresh and crisp as the food I’ll be serving tomorrow, so this is it for now.

Hope to see you again soon!

Love,

Barbara

About Me

27 Jan

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Rawluscious?! What and who have we got here..?

First of all, thanks for visiting this site and welcome to my blog! To give you an idea of who I am, what I do, what my interests are and what kind of stuff I’ll probably be writing about, here’s a little something about me.

My name is Barbara and I took my first sip of oxygen at the end of 1985, in a small and windy country that lays below sea level. Therefore our people are known for their skills in engineering, building dikes, dams, delta works and windmills and other than that we seem to know how to dance in wooden shoes, grow the best flower bulbs, drive bicycles, make good cheese and grow, sell, eat and smoke intoxicating herbs… I am talking about The Netherlands. Where us Dutch people live. The founders of New York City (former New Amsterdam) in 1625 and the inspiration for the name ‘Yankees’. Our capital is Amsterdam, but there’s many more pretty cities, towns, beaches and sights around to admire.

I grew up with two brothers, a mother and father, a few cats and dogs and the occasional hamster, rat or rabbit and a garden full of other life to enjoy or destroy (kids are cruel and inventive, what can I say..?).

As a teenager I developed an interest in health, sports and food and ways to combine those three in an affective and beneficial way. When I was about 16, I got so much into sports that I went to the gym 5 times a week and did heavier weight lifting than a lot of guys at the gym. My mother was banned from the kitchen more and more since I wanted to be sure the food we ate was healthy according to my standards. Besides the fact that I wanted to  consume the right stuff for my muscles to grow and my body to get stronger and leaner; I also actually very much enjoyed all the chopping, baking, frying, steaming, boiling, simmering, mixing and combining that came along with the preparations of our meals. When we would get visitors I immediately started to bake cakes, prepare snacks and think of what to prepare for dinner and from my 15th birthday on I would celebrate my growing older with a dinner party with friends; preferably spending at least a full day in the kitchen preparing everything.

When I was a law-student I discovered how much fun I had writing stories, blogs and other pieces of texts that had absolutely nothing to do with law but everything with my personal experiences, childhood memories, political views and all the other things that were keeping me occupied and away from my study books. At that time I was rather busy enjoying myself as much as I could by having friends over for dinners, going out, working in a restaurant, meeting friends for lunch, shopping, dreaming of far away travels, etc. The ‘days after’ were always great days for me to write blogs about my behavior of the evening or week before and how it could be possible that I would do something I would regret the next day, swearing I’d never do it again, to do exactly the same again the week after. I guess we are all familiar with those feelings.

My lust for partying luckily didn’t mean I didn’t care about my food anymore; I slowly changed my diet to an organic one and had friends over for dinner about 4 times a week. I loved making people happy with good food and it was even more exciting to see people getting inspired to try new things and start enjoying cooking more for themselves.

After I finally dared to admit that law was not my cup of tea and neither was the crazy student life I was living, I decided to quit my studies and take some time off to travel. Thailand was the first on my ‘wanted’ list, so I booked a ticket with flexible dates and took off on my adventure. It was an absolute amazing time where I met a lot of fun people, saw many beautiful places, learned scuba diving, did some cooking classes, enjoyed nature and being free and by myself and eventually met a beautiful man I fell in love with. He was Finnish and 4 days after I flew back to Holland I was already back on the plain, this time to Finland. I booked a 3 week trip but ended up not returning. I lived in Finland for two years, although I didn’t see that much of the winters since we went to Asia for several months both those winters. India, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong were good for many adventures, new flavors, inspirations, pictures and memories.

After two years up North I started to miss riding my bike and eating salty herring so we moved back to Holland. There’s no place like home I guess and when I came back I realized how much I had missed my own crazy nation, language and funny people. I had to move away to learn to appreciate it but I really do love Holland and it’s inhabitants. Not to mention the architecture, liveliness and options for a foodie like myself. We have so many nice organic shops and markets, festivals, little café’s and restaurants and a very nice scene when it comes to the raw food/spiritual/conscious crowd and activities.

In 2010 my brother mentioned a certain diet, or way of living and eating actually, that sounded very interesting to me. He mentioned the term ‘raw food’ and when I did a little research I soon found out it basically meant eating foods in their most pure and natural form, not heating anything above 42°C so that all the nutritional values and enzymes are still kept in tact and alive. Eating ‘living’ foods would apparently give us great health and has helped a lot of people getting rid of diseases or severe health problems. Reading about it on the internet and looking into recipes that looked absolutely amazing and made me want to try them out as soon as I could get my hands on the sometimes somewhat strange ingredients (Irish moss? kelp noodles? carob powder? maca? agave syrup?) made me very enthusiastic and I decided to give it a try and go for it. I had always been a great fruit and vegetable fan and the whole idea of consuming foods in their purest form and not eating anything processed or ‘dead’ sounded very logical to me. Besides, all these amazing websites with recipes and stories of people who cured all kinds of illnesses (even diabetes, cancer and HIV) just by changing their diet made it hard not to at least be curious what it would do for me.

So from one day to another, I went raw. I started to make raw chocolates, pies, nutmilks, -cheeses and -butters, cookies, desserts, superfood smoothies and crackers; started to dehydrate, soak, juice, blend, sprout and ferment and felt like every day was a new day of exploring, learning and trying out new funky dishes. I was amazed, surprised, inspired and barely ever disappointed. It all looked, tasted, smelled and felt great! I noticed a massive boost of my energy level and creativity. I went to bed excited, to wake up well rested only 5hours later, again excited to start the new day and learn more. I spent many hours researching on this fascinating new way of living and eating I was feeling so good with. For about a year, I was eating 90% raw. I felt great; more positive, fit, healthy and in a completely different state of mind. In other words: the raw diet worked out very well for me. Seeing the positive effects it had on me and my brother and meeting more and more people who benefited greatly from changing their eating habits more towards a raw and/or natural diet made me want to learn more and inspired me to spread the word in my environment. I don’t believe in preaching; I like to just amaze people with good and healthy food and I am willing to share my ideas, experiences, knowledge and recipes with anyone who’s interested. Everybody is different and we all have our own path.

After that first year, I have worked in an organic shop, a little café where I prepared the raw food and enjoyed having all the freedom in the kitchen I wanted so I could really try out whatever I wanted, I’ve sold raw food with a friend of mine on a market stall and now we are working on a few new concepts to find a way to make our living out of doing what we love.

This blog is where I will share thoughts about food, health, spirituality, personal adventures and experiences and recipes. I Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

With love,

Barbara

Quote 12 Dec

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‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food’- Hippocrates

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