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The 5 foods I couldn’t do without

I love food, punto. In fact, I love a great variety of foods, so long as they are freshly prepared, with love and care and great spicing. Good quality fresh foods, simply prepared with the right seasoning are hard to beat and hard to go too wrong with, and that’s the kind of food I adore. However, if I had to choose my Top 5 Foods, those I simply couldn’t live with, I know for sure which ones I’d go for. I mean, of course I could live without them if I really had to. But I don’t want to, I’m just too attached to them… They feature in my meals practically every day, my hand goes to them automatically in the shop, I can use them in a million different ways (though eventually habit wins, of course). Need I say? They are all nutritious, delicious, colourful, easy to prepare and an absolute pleasure to eat!

 Vegetables

Yeah well, you might say baaaaah, that’s a group of foods, not just one type of food. And you’ll be right of course, except I can’t name my absolute favourite vegetable of all times because I love them ALL. Well, maybe with a couple of not-much-loved exceptions, like Brussels sprouts and chicory (the Dutch witlof), which, with a bit of struggle and fair amount of creativity I could eat, but these two are really the exception to the rule. And the rule is, vegetables, lots of them, every day, sometimes even 3 times a day if I happen to start the day with a green smoothie loaded with spinach, celery and cucumber. A day without vegetables feels like a junk day, like a day without freshness or goodness. I regularly get ‘the looks’ in the supermarket when the cashier passes one vegetable after the other under the scanner and makes a comment about my healthy shopping habits. Yes, I’ll admit, I’m a vegetable junkie. And a happy one, too.

Avocado

Ahhhh, the creamy, luxurious, pale green, smooth and delicate avo – life just wouldn’t be the same without it. Did you know it’s Super Food Number 1? It’s so rich in nutrients that if we had to live on just one food till the end of our days, avocado could fill this role. Amazing. There are so many wonderful things about avocado, where do I start? Its high, healthy fat content keeps me full for hours and smoothes (I’ve convinced myself) my skin. It adds creaminess to salads and smoothies. It replaces butter on bread, pairs wonderfully with cheese and makes silky dips and dressings. It can be part of my breakfast (chopped together with a hard boiled egg and a tomato – a match made in heaven with the help of a drizzle of olive oil and some seasoning). It ends up in most salads I make for lunch or lands on a cracker or two next to some crunchy lettuce when noon time strikes. If the afternoon hunger pangs hit, a small avocado pear with just a dash of salt is enough to carry me through till dinner, and at dinner it could feature in an omelette wrap next to rucola and feta cheese. The one thing I won’t do with avocado is cook it. I did try baking it and adding it to soups, but always went back to ‘simple and fresh is best’. Avocado is my personal ‘pomme d’amour’ (or rather ‘poire d’amour’).

Walnuts

I absolutely love all nuts, all of them – almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, brazil nuts – you name it, I love it. I eat them, raw, every day, in various combinations, usually in the morning (in the sacred trio of yoghurt/kwark-fresh fruit-nuts) or as a snack. If I’m hurrying somewhere I’ll pack them in a box and take them with in my bag, just in case. But of all the nuts walnuts have become my absolute favourites. I have the Lidl to thank for that 😉 God only knows how much money I spent in the past on organic walnuts that tasted bitter and were neither fresh nor tasty (proof that organic is not always best), and in those faraway days walnuts were far from favourites. I then discovered that Lidl were selling great tasting, super fresh walnuts at a very competitive price, and I never looked back. Big, chunky, light brown, melt-in-the-mouth, omega-3-rich walnuts that just beg to be eaten. And so another (healthy) addiction developed.

Eggs

For 18 years I was a devout vegetarian, not so much out of animal love reasons but more because I was never particularly fond of meat or fish and over time lost interest in them while finding the vegetarian cuisine a playfield for creativity with great tastes and textures. I can’t remember whether my love of eggs developed during my vegetarian days or started even before, but one thing is for sure – I am an avid egg consumer and love them in every way, except raw (brrrr). I could easily eat 2-3 eggs a day – hard-boiled, soft boiled, steamed, fried as sunny side up or an omelette, in a quiche or a frittata, in a Middle Eastern shakshuka, an Indonesian nasi or in a Thai egg & peanut curry. They are one of the most versatile and nourishing foods in existence and they taste fantastic any which way you make them. They’re also quick to cook, you can fix a meal in minutes based on eggs. Let’s face it, even that man who maintains he can’t cook anything can still make an omelette, right? Right. That’s how easy they are to prepare. I always buy the organic (bio) eggs, I’d like to think that bio chickens enjoy a better life. And I don’t let egg warnings (‘max 3 a week’) scare me. Why do you never hear such scares about mega size bags of potato chips, I wonder?!

Pure, dark chocolate

Show me a woman who doesn’t like chocolate… I used to love to bits rich and creamy Belgian pralines, laced with sugar, but over the years I trained my palate to stay off sugar to the extent that these days even normal milk chocolate tastes far too unpleasantly sweet. But the love of chocolate remained. I once read that it mimics certain female hormones, which is why women love it so much. Maybe, or maybe it’s simply its melt-in-the-mouth texture and that glorious richness that spreads into every taste bud on my tongue. I love the bitter intensity of 85% dark chocolate, it pairs wonderfully with my one coffee a day, my afternoon treat. And I also love the fact that it’s bitter enough to have me stop after 2-3 pieces… a natural brake to the tendency to over-do it. Nine out of 10 times dark, pure, intense chocolate is my afternoon snack that fulfils the choc & sweet desire. Of course I could live without it, but why ever would I want to?? 🙂

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