Books, Bikes, and Food

Reviews, Recipes, Rides… and some other things, too.


Recipe: Spinach Salad Bowl

The other day, I broke my little toe. Not fun. They put my foot in a silly cast shoe that I have to wear for six (!) weeks. Apparently, this is how long even a little toe takes to heal. I can also attest to the fact that three and a half weeks after the event, it still hurts when I step on it too strongly, so the cast shoe is probably for the best. All this to say, I haven’t been moving around much, as opposed to my usual habits. On top of that, summer has really started over here and I’ve been more than antsy to get out hiking, swimming, biking, and all the fun activities you get to do in the summer. Except I don’t get to be active. 

All this to say, I’ve been trying to watch what I eat a bit more because I’m not using any calories since I’m mostly stationary. And I’ve really been feeling like summer foods. Enter this beautiful salad bowl. The great thing with these things is, you can throw just about anything into them and it will taste amazing.

Ingredients (1 portion)

  • 1 large handful of baby spinach
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 5 radishes, finely sliced
  • 4 artichoke hearts, quartered
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • dash of olive oil
  • pinch of salt

Just assemble everything in a bowl, drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the salt, mix well and enjoy! Also, you can plop a soft-boiled egg on top if you like.


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Recipe: Pear and Avocado Salad

You know the kind of food that’s so good you want to cry when it’s gone? And how it’s even better when you can cobble said meal together in about 10 minutes? Because this salad, you guys, this salad is it. It’s so unbelievably fresh and creamy at the same time, sweet and sour and mustardy and avocado-y and all other kinds of goodness. This is a comfort food dish that’s not just rewarding, it’s also healthy.

Unattractively enough, the original recipe is from the January diet programme of a women’s magazine. But don’t judge a book by its cover, right (erm, I do that all the time to be honest… #loveprettybooks). Anyway, this is my take on it, I did tweak a few things. The original has you use curry powder, but I’d run out so I used some spices that also go into curry and it was just fine. But if you, like a normal person would, have ready-made curry powder rather than an assortment of random spices sitting in your pantry, just know that you can use it here.

Ingredients (1 portion)

  • 1 pear (with peel)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt (I used the full-fat kind)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • small pinch of each: ground coriander, turmeric, ginger (alternatively, curry powder)
  • A few shavings of parmesan or Idiazabal cheese

In a medium sized bowl, mix the yoghurt, mustard, lime juice, and spices for the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finely grate the pear and add it to the bowl with the dressing. Mix well. Slice the avocado. Place the avocado on a plate and top with the pear and the cheese. Enjoy with some Swedish crisp bread.


Recipe: Beetroot Salad with Feta Cheese and Roasted Nuts

Last week, my parents came to stay for two days and help me with the final touches to my new flat. You know how it is when parents visit: you want everything to be just perfect and clean and also impress them with some tasty food that still leaves the kitchen in a presentable state post preparations. This beetroot salad recipe is absolutely delightful and has a pre-parental visit cheat shortcut: instead of roasting the beets myself, I bought them pre-cooked. It worked a charm (even though I forgot the thyme) and is incredibly easy to make. Served with fresh baguette or ciabatta, this salad works well on parents and other to-impress guests (just make sure your tablecloth isn’t white…).

Ingredients (serves 3 as a starter):

  • 500g of pre-cooked beets
  • 50g feta cheese
  • 1 small handful of nut mix (mine included almonds, cashews, walnuts and hazelnuts), roasted and roughly chopped
  • leaves from a sprig of fresh thyme (or not…)

For the vinaigrette:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl. Cut the beets into thin slices. Place them in a large bowl and pour the vinaigrette over them. Mix carefully with your hand and cover the bowl to marinate the beets for about 30 minutes. Arrange them on a platter and crumble the feta cheese over them. Top with the nuts (and thyme for those of you with a good memory). Serve and enjoy!

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Recipe: Rocket & Strawberry Summer Salad

Despite the meteorological moodiness of my adopted home city, this week something finally happened… You can never be too sure, but the temperatures have cracked the 20°C mark on such a regular basis that it leads me to draw a conclusion: summer, people, it really does seem to be here! The wonderful thing about summer and especially June in these parts is that days seem to last pretty much forever. You can comfortably leave the office at 8:00pm and still enjoy about two hours of sunshine.*

Another thing that I love about June is that we finally get local strawberries. Strawberries, to me, are the ultimate herald of summer. Once you can buy them at one of these strawberry-shaped stalls on the street corner, you can be sure that summer has begun. I don’t really like buying them when they’ve been shipped from far away, because it means they’ve been harvested without being ripe, and taste mainly of water (plus, the food miles! Eek). I bought some yesterday. They’re like little red drops of perfection. Today, I went to the farmers’ market and got some rocket to make one of the easiest, tastiest summer salads ever.

Ingredients (1 pretty substantial portion):

  • 2 big handfuls rocket
  • 2 handfuls strawberries
  • 90g feta cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • balsamic vinegar reduction to drizzle (this stuff has become seriously overused, but it goes amazingly well with the strawberries, so don’t snub it)

Wash and dry the rocket. (On a side note: in my book, rocket wins the award for most difficult to eat salad. You may want to cut the leaves a bit, or else you may, like me, end up with salad dressing everywhere. I got some on my wall, for God’s sake. Don’t ask how I did it.) Arrange on a plate or in a bowl.

Wash and dry the strawberries and cut them into quarters or halve the smaller ones.

In a bowl, combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some salt and pepper. Add the strawberries and let them marinate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the feta cheese into cubes and add to the salad bowl or plate. Once the strawberries are done, pour them over the salad. Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar reduction. Enjoy!

* This, Hamburg weather, is about all the praise you’re ever going to get from me, so you’d better appreciate it.