Chef Jana Steingrímsdóttir, pictured, enjoys buying fresh ingredients from local markets in Luxembourg
Chef Kristjana (Jana) Steingrímsdóttir talks about her kitchen confinement while the restaurant she co-owns and co-founded nine years ago, Happ, remains on lockdown.
Jess Bauldry: What kitchen trends have you noticed during the lockdown period?
Jana: I love seeing people experimenting in the kitchen and seeing their results. With people being home more and not having the option to go to restaurant, it is no wonder people are trying out new ideas and new recipes. We have been sending quite a few recipe books to our clients and also they are reaching out to me to ask me questions how to, which I always love to answer.
What have you been making during this time? Anything different or exotic? Any disasters?
I have been doing a lot of cooking and testing with my family at home since we just love to experiment in the kitchen.
I have been baking my sourdough for over a year, so with all this time at home it is easier to have warm bread available everyday and I have been playing with different ingredients in those breads as well as doing naan bread, focaccia, pizzas, etc, with the sourdough.
Other thing worth mentioning is banana bread that seems to be on most social media posts. It’s the same for my family which loves banana bread and banana cakes. I bake them quite often, but I always make them a bit healthier with hidden ingredients that gives the bread and cakes extra health benefits. Sometimes the banana bread recipes out there are almost only sugar, so it is easy to change few ingredients and add to it to make it healthier.
Cinnamon rolls have always been a hit in my house, so making them and playing with making them vegan or vegetarian has been fun. Also it is a nice activity for the kids to do.
Photo shows recipes for nice creams in the Happ recipe book. Photo: Happ
My kids are huge on smoothies (or nice creams) and I always have my freezer full of bananas, and fruits like blueberries, strawberries, mangoes and raspberries, as well as frozen greens like spinach and herbs. It is a super nice and healthy alternative to regular ice cream to use mix of fruits, greens, seeds and nut milk. And they can eat as much as they want of this, since I know it fills them up with vitamins and minerals. And with the nice weather, it sure is great to cool down with these smoothies/nice creams.
I have also been doing all kinds of mueslis, coconut yoghurts, bone broths, pickling vegetables, etc, which I love experimenting with.
Do you have any tips where people can get good ingredients, inspiration or kitchen tools?
I just love to go and get as much fresh and seasonal product at the farmers downtown, since I use so much vegetables and fruits in my cooking.
Also I like to shop at Naturata. Anther option for busy people is to subscribe to a box delivered once aweek to their house to get a variety of different products to their house and play with them at home.
Do you have any suggestions for creations that require readily available ingredients?
I really urge people to experiment in doing some smoothies/nice creams--we have quite a few recipes in our book--it is a fantastic way to add more fruits and vegetables in your day and usually everyone likes to have in the warm days ahead. You can top the smoothies/nice creams with fresh berries, fruits, muesli and coconut or what ever you can think of and have on hand.
3-4 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or almond flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
Optional add-ins for extra health benefit:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2 tablespoons chia seeds
All mixed together and baked for 45-50 min in a 180°C oven.