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How Food Can Make You Feel Heiter (Cheerful)

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You may not be surprised to learn that The Table team are huge fans of magazines. We love celebrating our peers and the hard work they put into each issue. In the last year we came across Heiter Magazine, an online magazine full of inspiring images and stories. Read on to find out how you can get Heiterkeit (cheerful) by eating food, from the Founder Katharina Geissler-Evans as well as a delicious recipe by Laura Hübner of Cuddling Carrots.

Heiterkeit is one of my favourite words. It is the noun that comes from the German adjective heiter (cheerful, joyful), an adjective that has become an important part of what I do, celebrate and stand for. My name is Katharina and I run an online magazine called Heiter magazine. The content I create is all about consciously enjoying the small but heiter moments in life.

I believe that Heiterkeit comes in many forms and occurs at different stages. I’ve learned that a lot of it has to do with our own well-being, community and creativity; three themes that also present themselves in the kitchen and around the table.

It starts with the process of preparing a meal. Picking the ingredients that we like, opting for food that gives us energy whilst having a positive impact on how we feel. Some describe the chopping of vegetables as therapeutic and the perfect way to wind down after a long day at work, whereas experimenting with flavours and styling a dish invite one to be creative. When it comes to enjoying the meal itself, we could discuss vitamins and minerals that are good for us and our bodies but there is actually so much more behind it. Tasting genuinely good food releases endorphins, (the happiness hormones) and those lead to more happiness in general. Furthermore, if there is great food in front of us, it is hard to focus on anything else and we’re more or less forced to slow down and enjoy what we eat, bite by bite. We experience an intimate moment of calm and joy, and, should that moment be shared with others, it can be even more pleasant.

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A few weeks ago I attended a supper club held by Laura and Timon, the team behind the German food blog Cuddling Carrots. Even though I hardly knew anyone, I instantly felt like I was a part of something bigger. There was a feeling of community, triggered by a shared interest -the love for homemade food. It was easy to have conversations with everyone, and it felt wonderful to do so over a beautifully prepared three-course meal. What made the evening even more enjoyable was Laura’s passion for what she does. The way her face lights up when she talks about creating recipes is heart-warming. One cannot miss the fact that she clearly experiences great joy when cooking, this positivity goes directly into her delicious dishes.

In hindsight, I can see that it all comes back to what I tried to explain earlier. A circle of finding joy for oneself, it may be Laura, who found Heiterkeit in cooking or, you or I reaching a decision on what food to eat. It could be making something (the beautiful process of cooking) and sharing it with others, perhaps gathered around the table. It all comes together in a circle of Heiterkeit.

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Polenta

150 g polenta
500 ml vegetable broth
200 ml milk
salt
ca. 3 tbsp herbal oil

Dukkah
50 g roasted pistachios
50 g pine nuts
25 g sesame
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
salt, pepper

4 x burrata (small)

Caramelised Root Vegetables With Herbal Polenta, Burrata and Dukkah

Recipe for four people

Root vegetables
3 parsnips
2 small yellow beetroots
3 carrots
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt, pepper

Herbal oil
1 handful of parsley
6 tarragon stems
5 dill stems
2 kale stems
1 handful of basil
1 garlic clove
1 small handful of almonds
olive oil
salt, pepper

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

  2. Thoroughly wash the parsnips, beetroots and carrots and cut them into half.

  3. Mix the olive oil, honey, mustard, balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper. Add the marinade to the vegetable, mix it all and place the vegetables onto an oven tray. Leave in the oven for about 30min (until the root vegetables are soft and caramelised).

  4. In the meantime, get everything ready for the herbal oil. Strip the leaves off the stems. The leaves, garlic clove (roughly chopped), almonds (slightly toasted in a frying pan), olive oil, salt and pepper go into a food processor. Blend everything until the ingredients have turned into a thick mixture (herbal oil).

  5. Heat the broth and the milk in a saucepan. Add the polenta and stir for about 10min whilst cooking. Season the polenta with salt and some of the herbal oil.

  6. Start roasting the pine nuts in a frying pan and set to the side.

  7. In another pan fry the sesame, mustard and coriander seeds. Chop the pistachios and pine nuts in a food processor, add the sesame, mustard and coriander seeds. Let the food processor run for a few more seconds. Add salt and pepper.

  8. Place some polenta on a plate, add the root vegetables and sprinkle the dukkah over it. Serve the burrata (topped with some of the herbal oil) on the side.

    Bon Appétit!

Credits:
Words by Katharina Geissler-Evans of Heiter Magazine
Recipe & Photography by Cuddling Carrots