Monday, December 21, 2009

b.grateful end of the year review; b.excited 2010 preview and b.gifted a Christmas holiday recipe

Only a few more days until Chrismas and the end of an exciting year full of joy, amazing connections and experiences. I am at my parents house in the South of Germany, surrounded by snow covered forests and medieval rooftops; a good time to stop for a moment and look back:

This has been a very exciting year for me during which I have been connected with so many beautiful people that supported me on my journey of sharing my passion in preparing highest quality, organic, sustainable, gourmet raw foods and practicing balancing body-work. We are coming towards the end of the first decade of the new millennium, truly one of the most exciting, most inspiring and most rewarding periods of my life and I would like to use this newsletter to express my deepest gratitude to some of the people that came into my life in this period:

  • Dickon Walker from Aviva Water in London, who pointed me to Gabriel Cousins and the Tree of Life during a very brief meeting in London about 4 years ago
  • All the people from the Tree of Life and the amazing chefs of the Tree of Life Café, who made the last 3 months of 2008 the most transforming, empowering, informative and fun months of my life and have shown light on a path that only started this year.
  • Freelance Writer and recent mother Kimberly Bradley, who wrote an article on b.alive! in the New York Times.
  • Patrick Bolk, who recently opened a great green fashion store in Berlin, Every Day is Like Sunday, published a heart touching article on me on his Blog on Eating Out Organic and Sustainable Food in and around Berlin:
  • Josefine and Nico from Kulau, Berlin based organic coconut company, who have been supplying me with the best available cold-pressed, extra virgin and truly raw coconut oil and coconut water and sometimes fresh young coconuts to make some very special treats for my gourmet dinners
  • Jean-Christian Jury, Christiane Rade and head chef Bjoern Moschinski from La Mano Verde, Berlin’s only organic, gourmet vegan restaurant, who have been a great inspiration and moral support during my short time working for them during the summer this year.
  • My personal coach for self-employment Jens Korz, who has been helping me a lot on a personal level with his Pitstop concept, a great therapy for burning out syndromes and any other personal problem as well as his professional guidance on all questions concerning my business.
  • My friend Denise Welch from Geneva based NGO The Gold Standard, who has helped me hosting two wonderful gourmet raw food dinner events in Geneva, and Amy Webster, raw food chef and coach, who helped me big time in promoting the events via her network and blog Simply Raw
  • Steve Brenner from The Beehive Bed&Breakfast and Holly Vernon from the macrobiotic restaurant Tidiro in Rome, who hosted 3 successful dinner evenings in Rome.
  • Robert Stock and Robert Echtermeyer from Tres Cabezas Organic Fair Trade Coffee in Berlin, who supplied me with their highest quality, truly sustainable and fair trade shade grown coffee from the Tierra Madre Project and who will be co-organizing my first retreat in Costa Rica in the coming year (
  • Simone Powers, ex Café Gratitude dessert chef, who taught me a lot about her gourmet raw food cuisine during my month long chef work for the Radiantly Alive Yoga Teacher training in Ubud, Bali.
  • Olivia Scheibel, founder of Love&Light in Denmark, who has been an amazing friend and supporter over the past few years and who facilitated an amazing retreat in her house in the beautiful forests outside Copenhagen this year in September, as well as her friend Mette, who facilitated a wonderful raw food dinner on her organic farm in the North of Denmark.
  • Gereon Pilz van der Grinten, co-founder of The KEYto International Event for Green Fashion, Sustainable Lifestyle and Culture in Berlin, who has been the most frequent guest in my gourmet private dinner club in Berlin and initiated the idea to offer b.alive! raw food catering during his fashion show in January
  • Lucie Beyer, my acroyoga teacher, who introduced me to a great acroyoga community in Berlin and helped me promoting my events in this community
  • Andreas Herrmann from Wamos Zentrum, Berlin, who facilitated 2 great Sunday raw food workshops and started raw food podluck dinners, bringing together a great little community in and around Berlin.
  • Sidhamo Anand, my Ayurvedic Yoga Massage teacher (, who empowered my massage and healing skills and further deepened them during my time in Thailand this February.
  • Eric Schwarz and Sarah Bolton, who spent 2 weeks in Berlin around the 20 year fall of the wall celebrations to collect footage for a documentary of which I will be part of :-) Check out their facebook page Children of the Wall to follow their Berlin shootings.
  • And of course all the amazing people who came to my numerous dinners, events and retreats and gave me great support, feedback and inspiration and so much love.

Looking back on all these amazing encounters, it seems almost impossible to top, but things are shaping up to an even more exciting year 2010 with many great events already in their planning stage:
  • A New Year Raw Food Preparation Weekend Course on January 9 and 10, in which I will teach the 101 on preparing easy to make gourmet raw food dishes even at your home. There are still a few open seats, so be quick and get your early sign up bonus if you sign up before the end of the year. See here for all details on the course:
  • Catering of the press conference at the KEYto International Event for Green Fashion, Sustainable Lifestyle and Culture in Berlin 20-23 January
  • 3rd Sunday Raw Food and Yoga Workshop at Wamos Zentrum Berlin on the 14th of February, Valentine’s Day Special
  • 3rd b.alive! in Geneva exclusive gourmet dinner beginning of March this time in the sleepy, cozy village of Gez 20 miles outside Geneva in the private house of my friends Gwendolyn and Jack with stunning views to the mountains and nearby lake from their top floor lounge
  • PURAw Vida: 10 day raw food, yoga and massage retreat in Costa Rica, May 17-27, 1010

    Together with Robert Stock from Tres Cabezas Fair Trade Coffee in Berlin and Olivia Scheibel, founder of Love&Light in Denmark, I will hold a 10 day retreat in the surroundings of the beautiful tropical beaches of Santa Teresa on peninsula Nicoia in Costa Rica. These 10 days will be a life-changing experience: Daily Yoga Classes, deeply relaxing and chacra opening ayurvedic yoga massage treatments, transforming and healing Body Self Development treatments, raw food preparation courses and 3 gourmet organic raw food meals daily will lift your energy to completely new levels and help you transform into a new self. Optional surfing, dance workshops, movie nights and music performances will complement the program and make these 10 days an unforgettable experience. More details will be up soon on

    The price is not completely settled yet, but it should be no more than 1500€ for the complete package, including accomodation, gourmet organic raw food meals, yoga classes and massage treatments.

    Early reservations qualify for a discount, so make up your mind early and don’t miss out on this opportunity.
  • Another project should be the opening of the b.alive! Café in Berlin some time in 2010. The idea is out, but nothing more yet, so let me develop this a little more and you will hear more about it once there is a more solid plan ;-) However, any feedback from your side on location etc. is more than welcome anytime!!
  • I have also extended my selection of products recently. The chocolate making workshop at Wamos Zentrum in Berlin on the 2nd advent Sunday made me experiment with a lot of chocolate and 3 amazing truffle creations came out of this as well as some scrumptious spreads. You can find them now on my website in the shop section on:

With all these exciting things coming up, I am looking forward to a challenging and empowering and fun New Year and start of a new decade full of change and development.
But now it’s time to enjoy the upcoming holidays and spend some time with our families and nurture our close relationships.
As a little holiday gift, I would like to share my ChoCocotella (raw nutella) recipe with you, so you can include a little raw food into your diet even during the Christmas Season :-)

ChoCocotella (b.alive! “nutella”)

200 g hazelnuts
1 cup agave
1 cup Kulau coconut oil
3-4 Tablespoons raw cacao powder
¼ t pink himalaya salt

Blend the hazelnuts in a Vitamix to a fine powder (or use a grinder to make a very fine flower). Put the coconut oil, melted at very low temperature, agave syrup, cacao powder, ground hazelnuts and salt into a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust sweeteners, cacao and coconut oil to taste (all quantities are approximate only). You can play with other spices like nutmeg, chili, cinnamon and maca to achieve different flavors.
Pour into a jar and store at room temperature (it will become too hard in the fridge). Spread and dip and enjoy with your favorite bread, fruit, ice cream and more.

Happy holidays to all of you and a wonderful start into a new exciting decade.

b.loved – b.joyful – b.alive!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Will it blend? Blender Show Down at the First Rawsome Sunday in Berlin

This past Sunday, my friend Alex from Wamos Zentrum organized the first Rawsome Sunday in Berlin, an entire day of workshops, talks, showcases, samplings and information around raw food. It was a great event with almost 30 attendees, "wheatgrass messiah" Piter Caizer from L.A. was giving lessons on juicing and making Essene bread and raw burgers and I was teaching how to make delicious smoothies and raw nutella. A full synopsis of the workshop can also be found on (in German).

One central part of the workshop was the ultimate blender test. See also this article on on this issue. This Sunday 4 blenders were tested:
  • my commercial Vitamix "Vitaprep 3" (about 800€ in Germany)
  • the famous K-Tec (about 600€)
  • Omni Mix (Taiwanese Vitamix imitation) (about 250€)
  • Saro Omni Blend V (K-Tex imitation) (about 250€)
The test was a simple orange, carrot ginger smoothie, blending oranges, carrots, ginger, cashew nuts, vanilla, dates and coconut oil.

The blends were rated based on smootheness and the results were rather obvious.
The winner was the Vitaprep 3, followed by the K-Tec. The cheaper Taiwanese imitations are not getting close to the consistencies these commercial high speed blenders can achieve.

One test, I would not have even dared to do in any of the other blenders was making the most healthy and delicious raw nutella. For this I blended hazelnuts to a flour first in the dry Vitamix, then added dates, raw cacao and coconut oil and blended the whole on highest speed using the tamper to push things down constantly. This creates a very thick and sticky cream, impossible for any household blender. AND the challenge was even higher, since I assumed that the dates, Alex handed me were already pitted... well... they weren't, I figured when I heard the sound of the blades meeting the hard date pits... :-o
BUT the Vitamix even coped with this and broke them all down!!

So, my resume: I think the Omniblend is an ok alternative for people who want to start on a raw food diet and want to experiment with smoothies, raw soups, patés and alike and don't want to spend the extra dollars for the professional brands.
However, as soon as you want to do more with it and use it very frequently, especially in commercial environments, I would not try to save any money here and go for the well established brands that have been tested for years and used in raw food restaurants all over the world. There is a reason, why all raw foodists swear on their Vitamixes.

Oh, and I do NOT take any responsibiliy for any damages due to householdblender testing with date pits inspired by this artice ;-)

Friday, November 27, 2009

b.alive! in the New York Times

The past few months have been very inspiring and I had the chance to connect with so many amazing people just by following my passion. Lovely freelance writer and mother Kimberly Bradley popped into my dinner club for lunch this spring because a friend had told her about it and here I am, my picture in the New York Times.

Recently, film producers Eric Swartz and Sarah Bolton from Memphis came to Berlin for the 20 year fall of the wall celebrations to shoot a documentary on an artists perspective of Berlin after the reunion of which I will be part as well :-) You can check out some of their footage on their facebook page Children of the Wall.

I could go on with things that have been happening, but I guess my point I want to make here is the law of attraction. Follow your passion, do what you believe in, and things will come to you "miraculously". There is no rocket science to it, just live with integrity, b.yourself, b.honest, b.passionate, b.alive! :-)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Young Coconuts - the food of the gods

There has been extended silence on this blog but it has all been for a good reason: traveling, training, self-development and back I am, full to the rim with new inspirations from recent travels to Thailand, Singapore and Bali. All of these places are little heavens for raw foodies and not at last because of one particular exotic fruit: Fresh Young Coconut. Young Coconuts are an amazing superfood. Not only do they contain up to half a liter of thirst quenching, tasty water, which at the same time is full of electrolytes and therefore a natural isotonic; it's actually the closest naturally existing liquid to the human blood, for which reason it is often used for blood transformations in developing countries if there is no blood from the correct type available. Even the Food and Agriculture Organization fought for a patent in 2000 to market coconut water as a new isotonic sports drink. Check this article on 7 benefits of coconut water.

But let's take a look at it's use in the culinary arts. The thin and soft flesh that you can scoop out from the coconut once you emptied out all the water and openend it up, can be used in a variety of dishes due to it's wonderful consistency and delicate subtle flavour, like in this coconut ceviche that I prepared a few days ago. In this dish, the texture of the coconut reminds of the texture of a squid (ceviche traditionally is a Mexican seafood dish).

The other day I also used the flesh in a Raw Version of Phad Thai, the traditional Thai noodle dish. Thinly sliced, the meat of the coconut gives the impression of the rice noodles the dish is usually made of.
There is plenty of other wonderful ways to work with young coconuts. A very simple thing is to just blend the meat and the coconut water and you have the best coconut milk ever! Then you can turn it into a sweet smoothie / milk adding the sweeteners of choice or into a savoury soup adding some lime, chilli, curry,... get creative. You can also make a nice coconut yoghurt by just blending the meat with a little coconut water, salt and lemon or lime juice. The water is sweet and tangy and little bit sour at the same time and therefore lends it this yogurty taste.
One of my favourite things I prepared these days are crèpes. Vegan, raw crèpes!! All the French out there, please forgive me now for misusing and abusing this reserved word...
The combination of cashew nuts and the flesh of the young coconut together with some other ingredients gives a perfect crèpes dough that you can fill with anything you would fill a normal crèpe. Here, I made a blueberry jello and a white creamy almond yoghurt using some of the coconut water, and drizzled the whole thing with a dark raw chocolate sauce. Blueberries and chocolate... delicious!!
However, my favourite, I actually invented two nights ago after coming home, hungry for something sweet. I pulled out a crèpes from the fridge, spread some tahini on it, then slivered pieces of frozen bananas on top, squeezed a few drops of lime over the whole thing, sprinkled it with raw chocolate nibs, rolled it all up and it was simply perfect! sweet crèpes, bitter nutty tahini, sweet pure banana "ice cream", a tang of lime, and the chocolate crunch turned out to be a fantastic combination. Try it out for yourself!

And in my next blog post, you will also find out, where I got all the coconuts in Berlin from to experiment with :-)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Raw Desserts: The Sweetest Art

Preparing raw desserts has become one of my favorite activities when experimenting in my raw food kitchen. Not only are they just divinely delicious, but the mere process of creating them absolutely fascinates me. Creating a raw dessert is truly an art. Going through the ingredients list of this beautiful strawberry shortcake I made a few days ago (inspired from The Sunny Raw Kitchen: Recipe of the Week: Strawberry Shortcake), you would not think it is possible to achieve such consistencies like a fluffy nutty cake base and a moussy butter or whipped cream topping. The ingredients are as simple as dried nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, coconut butter and agave sirup!

This is pretty much the same for most other vegan raw desserts, like this amazing raw chocolate mousse. The consistency is just like a regular one, airy, fluffy, light and the taste: heavenly, pure, dark bitter chocolate due to using 100% pure raw cacao, one of the most amazing and nutritious super foods on the planet. In its raw form, cacao has 6 times more antioxidants than blueberries, is the highest source of magnesium and has plenty of other benefits.

Not only do raw desserts taste even more delicious than some of their conventional relatives (like this raw version of a pumpkin pie), they are so much more nutritious, and better for your health, completely free from wheat, gluten and dairy and having lower effects on your blood sugar level, they can even be enjoyed by people with severe food intolerances, which become more and more common these days.

Most of these deserts I prepared recently are inspired by San Francisco's raw dessert heaven Café Gratitude. In fact, it was that raw cheesecake during my first meal at Café Gratitude a few years ago, that convinced me of the raw food trail and made we want to become a raw food chef. I just could not believe that there was a non-dairy, sugar free, vegan and raw version of this New York classic that could satisfy me at least as much as the original.

And here I am, 4 years later, making the same pies I once thought were such magical creations. Cheesecake is still one of my favourites. so this blueberry chocolate cheesecake from David Wolfe's book Naked Chocolate also hit the spot. A tangy cream from blueberries, raw chocolate and cashew nuts that tastes just like blueberry cream cheese!

Also this hazelnut chocolate cream pie was an amazing combination of nuts, seeds and chocolate. A hazelnutty crust, filled with a chocolate hazelnut mixture with the consistency of a moussy pudding, topped with a meringue made from coconut, vanilla and lemon.

I liked all of them, but with spring time and the first strawberries in season, the strawberry shortcake was my absolute favorite. The next experiment will be a mango mousse pie! I can't wait to power on my new VitaMix blender. Without this professional power machine, these desserts would not be possible. Due to its shape and the tamper, you can turn anything into a cream and even a thick cream like the one needed for a cheesecake is possible with this power blender. I haven't tried to blend my Iphone yet, but the comparable KTec blender apparently does. Check it out on YouTube :-)

Friday, March 20, 2009

b.alive Berlin Brunch , 1st edition

Last Sunday, I opened doors to the first brunch at the inofficial "b.alive raw café" at my little studio loft in Berlin Mitte. It was a great success. 11 hungry people showed up with sceptic faces wondering whether THIS raw food would actually fill them or if they need to go to have a Döner or Currywurst after. I think, noone had to :-)

The brunch menu featured:

  • Banana Blueberry Chocolate Smoothies
  • Raw Homemade Superfoods Granola (including Goji Berries, Maca, Raw Chocolate, etc.) served with a freshly made Goji Berry Coconut Milk and fresh fruit
  • Raw Buckwheat Pizza with fermented cheese and marinated vegetables
  • Nori Rolls with Fermented Wasabi Sunflower Cheeze
  • Chocolate Nachos with a Sweet Spicy Walnut Saffron Paté
  • Sicilian Fennel Orange Radicchio Salad with Walnuts
  • Apple Pie with Caramel Cashew Sauce
The raw pizza was definitely the brunch star. Everybody was surprised on how pizza can be raw until they figured out that the misterious black box in the corner was the magical tool: a dehydrator. This pizza was delicious, with a crust made from buckwheat and sun-dried tomatoes, a layer of fermented sunflower seed cheeze, another layer of marinara sauce and topped with a vegetable medeley of eggplants, zucchini, spinach and bell pepper that have been marinated in olive oil and Italian herbs for 24 hours. Everything together created a perfect combination of textures and flavours.

My personal favourite were the chocolate nachos with a walnut saffron paté. The chocolate in the nachos (made from a base of sunflower seeds and corn) gave them a bitterness which is well complemented by the sweetness and spicyness of the paté, made from walnuts, saffron, dried apricots, chilli and some other little secrets.

For the Nori Rolls, I used the fermented sunflower seed cheeze and flovoured it with Wasabi and Soy Sauce, used it as a filling together with raw veggies like cucuber, carrots, peppers, avocavdos and sprouts, et voilà, a beautiful vegan interpretation of a maki roll.

The celebrities of the first brunch were: Writer Travis Jeppesen, art photographer Luigi, Art Gallerist Michael Rade, Roisin Cronin, Mark Malossek, Sven Bretschneider, Fashion Youngster Reto Cameri, Fair Trade Coffee Roaster David MacGregor, DJ and Musician Snax and Berlinale volunteer Na'ama with her friend William.

Everybody, including me, was happy and shining by the end of the brunch and left with an obvious abundance of radiating energy from their first living food experience. At least the grateful smiles told me so. I am already looking forward to the next event.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The b.alive podcast is born

A long time has passed since my last blog post and an update has been overdue. Especially, since I finished this one already quite a while ago: My first podcast. Instead of writing about my food journey in San Francisco over Christmas and New Years, I decided to use this opportunity to experiment with podcasting instead. So here it is, the first episode of the b.alive podcast. Lean back, relax, listen and watch the photo stream and while you are doing this, I am hitting the keyboard to write up on Thailand where I spent my last month to deepen my massage practice and healing skills, reason for the delay in blogging :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Is it a brownie, a deformed truffle, tiramisu...?

The question of last nights wonderful dinner party at my neighbours Michael and Philipp was: What is it? A brownie? A deformed truffle? A chocolate cake? A raw tiramisu? ... Well, it started off with the idea of trying to copy this wonderful walnut cherry and chocolate confection that I had for desert at Alive! in San Francisco. Friday night at 11pm, I suddenly was hit by an obsession to give it a try. So I threw some soaked walnuts, soaked dates, figs, cacao powder and nibs and some orange zest into the food processor. Not having the right powerful machine yet, the consistency first turned out way too gritty. And also way too sweet. So I let it run for a while longer. And I had added too much date soak water at some point, so it was getting too soft for being a brownie like consistency. I started forming truffles and rolling then in cacao. Tasting them, however, didn't convince me. So at this point (it was 1 am), I just put the whole bowl into the fridge and meditated over it in my dreams...

Next morning, I had it. I threw the whole thing into the more powerful blender, added some cashews, some melted down cacao paste and vanilla coconut cream, cold pressed coffee, lecithin, salt, lemon juice and inca berries, which took away the overly sweet taste of the figs and dates, brought out the chocolate and gave it a beautiful fruity note. I spread it into a casseruole and topped it with some runny cashew vanilla coconut cream made from cashews, vanilla coconutbutter, salt, agave and water. Et voilà:

The result was a delicious little caky, brownie, truflly cream something that had great success and everyone was quite surprised to learn that raw food does not have to mean munching on a dry carrot. We couldn't figure out the name thing.

But it doesn't matter, does it? Let's call it the Incan Chocolate Square? Or the truffly balive chocolate mousse cake?

It's all good, it was a chocolaty, fruity, nutty, creamy delight and everyone was happy and convinced that raw foods it something worth looking into a little closer :-)

A few other highlighs of this weeks kitchen experiments were the spaghetti bolognese and the Asian Kale and Eggplant Curry with dehydrated flax crackers. No time now to into details, since I have to get ready for my next trip: To Thailand. I am going to one of my favourite retreats The Sancutary on the island Koh Phangan to do an advanced course in Ayurvedic Yoga Massage. So watch out for some exotic travel reports from the Far East soon!

I promised to give you more on chocolate and I kept my promise, and there will be more, be sure of that!

Sawadee. And Hail to Chocolate :-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A rising star in Berlin: La Mano Verde

Coming back to Berlin from vegan's and raw foodist's heaven San Francisco, I was afraid, I would never be able to go out again if I wanted to keep eating a purely organic, vegan, rawfood diet. I should be wrong: Doing a little Google search on vegan and rawfood in Berlin, I came across La Mano Verde, a recently opened vegan restaurant with a partially raw vegan menu. Fantastic! And perfect timing, because opening up the link to their website the first thing that caught my attention was an upcoming raw food showcase event on the weekend of the 17th and 18th of January. Guest chef and health consultant Urs Hochstrasser offered exclusive 4 or 5 course raw food dinners and lunches. I had to go and compare to my recently acquired skills :-)

So I convinced my friend Roisin to spend the astronomical sum (for Berlin standards of course) of 25€ on a four course raw food lunch last Saturday. After our 25 minute trip out to Friedenau, we entered the very classy and tastefully furnished restaurant and were seated by owner and manager Jean-Christian Jury. After only a few minutes i could not help my excitement and introduced myself as a newly graduated raw food chef from the Tree of Life. I could see an uplifting smile in his face and throughout the entire lunch, we kept talking end exchanging experiences. He used to be the manager of the SAF restaurants (London, Munich and Istanbul). Chad Surno, the head chef of London's SAF, used to work at the Tree of Life! Jean's current chef Björn who was one of SAF's best chefs, came out from the kitchen right away to say hello as well. What an amazing connection, I felt at home immediately :-)

And then, when I mentioned I would go to Thailand for a month to do a massage course, Jean's smile opened up entirely. It turned out, he used to live there for many years and organized the first full moon party on Koh Phangan, the island where I will go to in a week to do an advanced course in Ayurvedic Yoga Massage at The Sanctuary, a beautiful resort on a secluded beach near Had Rin on Koh Phangan. I knew, I was on the right path!

But let's get to the food. The soup was a creamy blend of zucchini, served with a dollup of an almond paste that resembles a crème fraìche and some edible flowers on top. The taste was simple but delicious.

As a starter, we got served a farmers salad from endive, field salad and sprouts, tossed in a creamy macadamia nut dressing and served with a crunchy flax carrot cracker on the side.

The main course was a cauliflower curry, beautifully arranged in a heart shape with a web of dehydrated red beet shreds stuck in it. This was accompanied with a carrot pinenut raita on a carrot cream.

Desert was a mango coconut cream with marbled raspberry coulis.

The presentation of each course was very beautiful with lots of love for detail.

It all tasted delicious: subtle, natural flavours that complemented each other well.

And on top it was very comforting and reassuring to see that I was very familiar with all of the dishes and their preparation methods and could have easily assembled a similar menu myself :-)

I was so motivated, I went home that afternoon and prepared a raw carrot cake from nutflowers, nuts, dates, lemon and orange peel and spices with a creamy, heavenly cashew vanilla frosting. I had to lick the blender after I put the cream on the cake ;-)

The Saturday lunch experience got me so excited, I had to go back to the restaurant on Sunday evening with my lovely neighbours Philip and Michael to taste chef Björns creations. I was impressed! I had Raw Beet Ravioli with Cashew Ricotta Filling on fresh fennel followed by Zucchini and Bell Pepper "Linguini" with a Cashew Cream Sauce and Marinated Shitake Mushrooms. Both plates were beautifully presented and well composed in terms of both colours and flavours. Also my two friends and raw food newbies were very pleased. The athmosphere of the restaurant in the evening is very intimate. The large dimly lit chandeliers and candles on every table and on the counters and relaxing jazz and piano music in the background create a stylish at the same time cozy and comforting athmosphere. Then, the moment of truth: Raw Blueberry Cheesecake was the seasonal raw food desert of the day. Will it reach the level of "Desert Godess" Gisela's magic Sunday Brunch deserts at the Tree of Life? When it arrived, I was already bought by the presentation: it came surrounded by a marbled duett of a white and dark sauce and with a handful of extra blueberries, m favourite fruit. I spooned the first bite, put it on my tongue, and.... HEAVEN... I wanted to melt away... it passed :-)

The resumé: It's a little out of the way from central Mitte, Kreuzberg or Prenzlauer Berg, but La Mano Verde is a rising star that's certainly worth seeking out on Berlin's new horizon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Raw Gourmet Sample Platter

I think that is what I would call this plate in my own restaurant (shall I ever have one): Today's raw lunch at my home café:

  • zucchini sunflower hommous with fresh thyme on marinated kohlrabi (top)
  • marinated sunchokes (left)
  • sprouted quinoa and lentil salad with spicy tomato-apricot chutney (right)
  • Red Cabbage Pad Thai with Cashews (center)

Everybody knows the classic chickpea hummus, but who would have thought that zucchini actually makes a much lighter and easier digestible version of it. Sunflower seeds, zucchini, cashew nuts and fresh thyme are blended into a fluffy paste which I served on marinated kohlrabi carpaccio. Its crunchy bite makes it the perfect veggie hummus "cracker".

Red quinoa is a variety that is not much cultivated anymore. A shame, since its nutty flavour makes it a delicous, nutrient dense power grain. Sprouted, it makes a wonderful salad like in this one with avocados, tomatoes, red onion, sprouted lentils, alfalfa, waterkress and radish with a coconut, ginger, garlic, chilli dressing and some fresh coriander, topped with a spicy tomato-apricot-cashew chutney.

And you don't need rice pasta to make a pad thai. Thinly sliced red cabbage, once marinated in a sauce for a while, makes nice "noodles" that go really well with Asian flavours. I added some sunchoke julienne for an extra crunch, yellow bell pepper, fresh cilantro, dulse flakes and cashews for sweetness and wakame slices for even more noodle like teture and a salty sea taste. And of course a bunch of mixed sprouts for an extra enzyme and chlorophyl boost.

The sauce resembles a thai curry (without the additives and processed ingredients in the usual store bought pastes). I used coconut oil, coconut milk, ginger, garlic, chipotle, turmeric, agave, salt and chickpea miso. I could have also used stevia instead of agave to make it a more low glycemic dish.

This was a perfect lunch. All the flavours and textures complemented each other very well and even the colours were abundant: white, yellow, orange, red, green and purple. What a beautiful rainbow plate. I was satisfied :-)