Why date balls pass for Bliss and Love

Or as my eldest daughter calls them: Yoga Balls, refering to a very mindfull practice. A state of bliss, submerged in love is what I take in when I treat myself to a date ball. Not suprisingly I process at least once a week the raw ingredients consisting mainly of dates and seeds or nuts, into approximately thirty nutrious round little balls, in snack sized measurements of ’round and about 20 grams weight each.

The irony is that culinairy combinations of dried fruits and nuts going way back in time and location, typically are not associated with sweet love and a state of bliss. The harsh texture and not subtle flavors have even given rise to the archaïc appelation: Pan Forte. Beautifully wrapped and labelled Italian ‘Tough Bread’, being probably the most renown culinairy version of processed dried fruits and nuts, flavoured with ginger, lightly dusted with icing sugar.

So where did we deteriorate and start to associate dryness, sticky chunks and pieces, crumbly bits and a lot of protein with Love and a State of Bliss? Please contemplate when preparing a very straightforward date ball dough before meditatively taking small scoops of it in the palm of one hand, as to subtly roll it into a little ball using light pressure exerted with the other hand palm, secretely transforming the culinairy process into an act of love and health and mindfulness.

350 gram dates, preferably a combination of half medjool (sweet and sticky) and half regular dried dates (caramel flavor and more sturdy)

200 gram raw cashew nuts

Zest of 1 orange

A walnut sized or shallot sized chunk of fresh ginger (15 grams), finely grated

2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste) or any other nut/seed paste

Sprinkling of sea salt

Take pits out of the dates where applicable and dice the dates with a sharp knife into chunks no larger then sweet peas. This takes quite a bit of time and effort. But the secret of the recipe lies in cutting instead of food-processing.

Transfer into large bowl

Take a coffee bean grinder or set up the magic mix with it’s small container, and grind the cashew nuts into a paste. First the nuts will turn into meal and consecutively they will form a paste much like butter. It’s not necessary to have the emulsion transform all together into butter, somewhere half way is fine

Add to large bowl

Add the remaining ingredients, form a dough with bare hands

Set out a shallow bowl filled with water and a storage container lined with baking sheet

Wet your hands and keep them wet throughout the process (here is where the shallow water bowl comes in) to keep the dough from sticking at your hands and fingers as much as possible

Take a golf ball sized amount of dough in the palm of your hand, form a ball, start rolling it in between the palms of your hands and dispose of it in prepared baking sheet lined, storage container.

Repeat the process until all dough is finished

Place storage container in fridge

Ready to eat and to be kept in the fridge for several weeks without turning rancid or bad (the flavors actually mingle more over time)

And Love Your Balls Ever After

Bless You

KiSS series, nr 1

Something that doesn’t sound sexy at all. Not so much the word itself. Rather it’s association with a certain timeless salty sour, slightly bitter and harsh flavor. It’s consistency equals this sensation. Which is quite the opposite of smooth, pleasant in the mouth or softly touching my lips. It’s Jurassic like crocodiles, perky like cactusses and often cold, damp cold. Are we talking about food? Yes! And about everything it beholds: nutrition, pleasure, connection, warmth, taking care, paying attention, surprise and a whole lot of dedication. All at the same time, preferably. 
In no two different culinary traditions it’s done the same way. But I dare say that each and every culinary tradition does know it’s own variation of the art of pickling. Maybe eskimo’s and Tibetans have been able to stay away from it, thanks to their fridge-worthy surroundings. The rest of the world needed methods to conserve their precious food. 
A quarter of one cauliflower head, cut in the small roses, the size of cashew nuts, is to be transferred into a glass confit jar. It’s nice to use an authentic one, with orange rubber lining to secure keeping the jar air tight. But a former jam jar works just as well for these quick pickling methods. Add a six centimeter strip of orange peel to it. The jars I use contain 500 ml. But you can use any size. Then measure half of the content, in my case 250 ml, apple cider vinegar and the other half, 250 ml plain water and heat in a pot. Add a generous tablespoon of sugar and a generous tablespoon of salt. Heat until the salt and sugar are dissolved and the liquid is at the verge of boiling. Then take it from the heat and carefully poor it over the cauliflower in the glass jar. Close lid. Let it cool. Place in the fridge for 24 hours. After which it is ready to use although it can be kept pretty much timelessly. The hot liquid quick pickling method I prefer for hard vegetables like roots and cabbages or watermelon rind. The same conjunction of vinegar, water, salt and sugar can be poored cold as is, over soft vegetables like zucchini, cucumber or onion. What I like about quick pickling is that it’s so easy. Already after 24 hours, you can enjoy your very homemade pickles. To all handsome ladies and smart guys in the kitchen my message here is: ‘please don’t forget to KISS’, in other words, Keep It Stupid and Simple


Yesterday I made love with the love of my life during five hours. We parted and I felt pretty depleted. Both emotionally and physically. We both went our ways, picking up our kids from different schools. At my kid’s school the Thursday market was on and my youngest daughter’s class due for bbq’ed sausages. As a raw-vegan culinary addict I love anything food related, including grilling supermarket sausages. Or is it the handing them out to kids and parents alike, I love? A few hours later, cold and almost dark outside now, I’d parked myself behind the stove in my own kitchen, baking mini pancakes made of many left over egg yolks (debris of croquettes made without liquid egg white to coat them), self raising flour, diary milk, turmeric, smoked red chillie and cumin. Creating and enjoying it, my senses fully open; it struck me. I want to discover what food is all about. Or what food and me are about. Our relationship, if I may.

Recipes of a pretty woman is meant to be a superficial account of what I do food related. Or maybe it is about all the senses. An expression of feelings, emotions, beauty, sadness, open or closed, restraint or let go, mixed with sweetness, spices, deliciousness and mishappenings, sensuality and short cuts.  But most of all it will surpass the mind, logic and the world as we understand it.