Introduction

Introduction

By
David Frenkiel, Luise Vindahl Andersen
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742705583
Photographer
Johanna Frenkel

The moment we met, our two food worlds collided. I was the unhealthy vegetarian (yes, they do exist) who basically lived on pasta, pizza, sweets and ice cream. And Luise was a very health-conscious meat eater, who had practically scratched those foods from her repertoire. After a couple of awkward months (huge understatement), we made a decision. We realized that if we were to be able to live together, I had to learn about wholegrains, quinoa and natural sweeteners, while Luise decided to start cutting down on meat and start experimenting with vegetable-based meals. And instead of focusing on all the things we didn’t eat, we did the opposite.

All of a sudden we found ourselves discussing how to cook a dinner that put the vegetables in focus, and was still nourishing enough to eat after a long day or a workout. We filled our home with fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and good fats and decided to start cooking food and baking cakes that were healthy and green, without being boring.

One of the first things we made was a carrot cake, where you could actually feel the texture and taste of the carrots, not just the sugar in it. And we made baked herb falafel that we wrapped in thin, crunchy cabbage leaves instead of plain, dry pitta bread. We also learned to appreciate simple things like a freshly squeezed vegetable juice, which tastes sweeter than anything you can buy in the supermarket, yet contains no sugar at all. The possibilities seemed endless and everything we made tasted so much better than it had ever done before. As a way of documenting our food endeavours (and failures) we bought a camera, registered the blog Green Kitchen Stories, and started writing. And that is what we have been doing for more than three years now. This book is a resume of what we have learned and perhaps a guide, of sorts, to our way of eating.

To help you get the full picture, we will rewind the tape a couple of years. Our story started late one night on a small dance floor not more than 10 meters from the river Tiber and 20 meters from Castel Sant’Angelo, in central Rome. That is where we met and fell in love six years ago. I don’t think the subject of food came up once during our first conversation (strange considering that we were in Italy and everybody ALWAYS talks about food there). But I know for a fact that we talked about it on our first date one week later. I was so nervous that I memorised 20 questions, to avoid having nothing to say. And after having lived in Rome for six months, 15 of those questions were food-related. It didn’t take us long to realise that we had two vastly different approaches to food.

I have been a vegetarian since I was 15 years old. It has never been a radical choice for me. I am not a meat-hater. I have just chosen to eat vegetables instead. It makes me feel better in every way possible. I can sit around a table with people eating steaks, without commenting or even thinking about it. But I do expect the same treatment back. What I eat is my choice; please spare me any ironic comments. Although I enjoyed spending time in the kitchen before I met Luise, the largest part of my plate was always filled with pasta, potatoes, bread and white rice.

Luise has always been a cautious eater. She makes lots of deliberately healthy choices that for some might seem complicated, but for her makes perfect sense. She has always had an active lifestyle, and eating well is an essential part of that. She eats some fish and organic poultry occasionally, but has become amazingly creative in turning a few vegetables into a feast. For her, health is not only about eating green, she is also very interested in herbal medicine and natural remedies. And she obviously must be doing something right, because I have never met a person who looks so healthy and recovers so quickly from a virus.

Today we live in a crammed but charming apartment in Stockholm, Sweden, with our daughter, Elsa. Although we both have careers of our own, and none of us have any professional background in cooking, food has become something we talk about from early morning to late evening.

We try to eat as varied a diet as possible at home. That is why our recipes are sometimes raw and other times cooked. Sometimes they call for buckwheat, which is gluten-free and other times for spelt, which is not. Many of our recipes are vegan, but we love to eat eggs and cheese every now and then. Look into our kitchen and you will not only notice all the nuts that Elsa has spread over the floor, but also the wide array of whole flours, dried fruit, seeds, superfoods and multi-coloured quinoa that we keep in our cupboard. Open our fridge and you will probably be attacked by an organic and locally harvested cabbage. It’s usually so big that we throw it in just before closing the door, thus it is also the first thing that jumps out when you open it. Behind it you might find some more seasonal vegetables (organic, when not too expensive), seven million jars of nut butters and spreads, a goat’s yoghurt and three different versions of plant milk, usually oat, almond and rice. Even though it might sound like a parody, this is an exact description of how our kitchen looks right now. We don’t have a perfect and clean home, but we do love whole foods.

This book is filled with recipes from our everyday life, along with some simple tips on how to get a more varied and greener pantry. We want to keep it simple, basic and very useful. Here we have shared the kind of food that we often eat at home. Not all our recipes can be whipped together in 20 minutes, but many of them can (a few in even less time). Some of them will take hours, but they are worth it. We have tried to make sure that there will be lots of recipes to choose from (or adapt) if you are vegan or have any allergies. More than 90 per cent of the recipes in this book are, by the way, gluten-free.

We have divided the book into Mornings (where you will find breakfasts both for a stressful Tuesday and a weekend brunch); Lighter Meals (suitable for lunches and effortless dinners throughout the week); Good to Go (dishes that will survive a few hours in a picnic basket); Family Dinners (perfect for a larger weekend gatherings); Small Bites (for a buffet table or as a side dish); Drinks (from fresh juices to Indian chai tea); and Sweets and Treats (to trigger your sweet tooth, even though naturally sweetened with fruit and full of wholegrains).

We find food inspiration from all over the globe. Of course we read a lot of blogs, but our little family has also travelled around the world together. You can probably trace which countries we have visited, just by looking at the recipe index. One country that we always return to is Italy, and you will definitely notice the influence in how we use oil, lemon and fresh herbs. Apart from that, we have also thrown a little bit of our Scandinavian heritage into this book. A classic dark Danish rye bread, a Swedish hash pan, a cold Danish berry soup, a curried egg salad, a mouth-watering pancake cake and delicious thin crisp bread. We have included recipes that most Scandinavian families have their own versions of, but with our own twist. Most of the recipes are written solely for this book, but we have also included our favourites from the blog. They have new photos and many of them have also been altered in different ways – new flavours have been added, the methods have been perfected or there are new suggestions of what to serve them with. So even though you might recognise a recipe, it might be worth trying it again.

Luise and I have written this book and developed all the recipes together. Both our voices will guide you through it (and sometimes also the voice of our daughter). We hope that you will find many new favourite recipes, but also that we can inspire you to pursue your own way into the world of whole foods.

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