Meriliis: there is so much to discover!
Visiting Meriliis and her husband Mathias in Bonn (Germany) and enjoying the heavenly
pre-Christmas three-course dinner.
WHO: Meriliis, beautiful soul with creative mind and skillful hands
HER PLACES: Pärnu & Liu (Estonia), Bonn (Germany) Gmunden (Austria), Barcelona (Spain)
HER PASSIONS: food, interior decoration, dancing, visiting new places
HER nutrisophy: listening her own body, no meat nor milk, lots of berries and nuts
When travelling back home for Christmas from Spain, I made a stop in Bonn (Germany) to visit my dear friend Tiina, who is living there with her family for some years now. When talking and planning my stay, she mentioned another Estonian girl Meriliis, who is living nearby, just 15 min walk from her home. This is how we ended up organizing a small Estonian pre-Christmas party in Bonn. Little did I know that Meriliis is such a wonderful cook, full of passion about food and health!
She is coming from a small coastal town of Pärnu in Estonia. Growing up with her brother, they spent all the summers in the family´s summer-cottage in Liu village nearby. Such a magical place – next to the sea, in the middle of untouched nature and with garden of more than two hundred square meters where her mother is still growing all kind of vegetables. Thus, eating lots of leafy greens and different kind of vegetables has always been the most natural thing for her.
Meriliis left childhood home and started her own path quite early, working as a model in Paris and Madrid. After meeting her husband Mathias, they lived for a while in Gmunden (Austria) before settling down in tranquil Bonn. She feels happy in Bonn – here are her husband, her friends, her cozy kitchen… On top of it, she has found the way to create a new career from her passion for dancing. She has always loved dancing and can´t imagine her life without it. “It gives me so much positive energy and the feeling that everything is possible,” she tells. So she decided to take her dancing-enthusiasm to the next level and is now a licensed Zumba instructor. She gives her own Zumba lessons in Bonn and is very excited about this new challenge in her life!
Who knows what´s the next place for two of them, but after moving between so many places, Meriliis has mastered the art of living in the moment.
Meriliis & Food
I would say Meriliis is an explorer in the food-world. Not so nostalgic about the food from her homeland or the tastes she grew up with, but happily opened to the new and unknown.
She loves all the different aspects of food – its flavor, smell, texture, appearance… She enjoys the moment of sitting to the table and savoring the outcome – she doesn´t even taste the food before bringing it to the table. Don´t spoil the surprise!
Meriliis started her independent food-journey quite early. In addition to working as a model in Paris and Madrid when just 15-years-old, she worked in French and Italian restaurants during summer holidays when in high school. These experiences introduced her to the world of flavors and cooking methods quite different from her childhood home.
She realized that it is not so complicated to learn to cook and it gives you endless opportunities to enjoy.
Gradually she built up her own nutrisophy, the way of eating which makes her thrive. At first, she realized that she was using less meat when cooking as her body didn´t crave for it. From this time on Meriliis has always chosen food accordingly to her own body´s needs and wishes. She has also left out milk and sugar and keeps an eye on her protein intake as she works out a lot during a week.
What does she eat to feel and look so good?
The first thing in the morning – orange juice! After this some natural yogurt with berries and almonds or self-prepared croquant roasting almonds and nuts with some cinnamon and honey. And a morning coffee.
For a lunch, she loves fresh salad, which is light and not overloaded with carbs.
For a dinner for example lentil curry, fish with fresh salad etc. She also loves shrimps and often chooses them over fish. Fresh fruit or homemade ice cream for dessert, often accompanied again with croquant – she loves nuts, especially cashews.
However, she loves to experiment with food as well and cooks for others to share love and create happiness. What she puts on the plate has to look good and elegant! “I´m eating with my eyes,” she tells cheerily. She used to bake a lot and create amazing cakes but her husband asked her to stop it – he was unable to say no to her pastry and started to gain weight! Brita cake, pavlova, croissants, macarons, soufflé… anything is possible for her!
When talking about the different cuisines she likes, she admits that she loves Italian food, but the biggest surprise for her was the food in Mauritius. Meriliis and Mathias got married there last year and the Mauritian kitchen tasted delicious being a great mix of flavors from France, India and native Africa.
Meriliis cooks every single day and enjoys it. “There are so many flavors to discover!” she says. If there is a challenge for her in the kitchen, she just goes for it with all her passion and excitement.
And yes, Christmas dinners are her moments to shine! From seven-course tasting menus for group of friends and family members to intimate dinners with simple and homey dishes… Anything is possible and brings joy to her as well as her lucky guests!
What did we cook with Meriliis?
Healthy and breathtaking three-course dinner – gluten free, dairy free, meat free
Quinoa salad with shrimps,
Zucchini spaghettis (her favorite find this year) with pad thai sauce,
Banana pancakes with raspberry sorbet and croquant.
Find the recipes below!
Quinoa salad with shrimps and avocado
gluten free, dairy free, meat free
1,25 dl (0,5 cups) quinoa
2,5 dl (1 cup) vegetable stock or water
0,5 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
250 g shrimps
2 ripe avocados
2 roasted bell peppers
freshly ground black pepper
fresh or dried herbs (oregano, basil)
– Rinse and drain quinoa.
– Combine water or vegetable stock, quinoa, and salt in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Cool quinoa mixture slightly.
– Chop bell peppers and avocados.
– Take a large bowl and add cooked quinoa, shrimps, chopped bell peppers and avocados.
– Add mix of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil.
– Add freshly ground black pepper and spices.
Mix and serve!
Zucchini spaghetti with pad thai sauce
gluten free, dairy free, vegan
2 zucchinis, peeled
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt, freshly ground black pepper
– Cut lengthwise slices from zucchini using a vegetable peeler, stopping when the seeds are reached. Turn zucchini over and continue ‘peeling’ until all the zucchini is in long strips; discard seeds. Slice the zucchini into thinner strips resembling spaghetti.
– Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir zucchini in the hot oil for 1 minute. Add the sauce and simmer for approximately 3 min. Leaving the zucchini too long on the heated pan makes the texture wet. Avoid that. Season with salt and pepper.
PAD THAI SAUCE
0,6 dl (¼ cup) organic soy sauce
1 tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
½ tsp. minced garlic (approx. 2 gloves)
2 tbsp. lime juice (approx. 1 lime)
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
In a small bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until well combined.
Divide spaghetti and sauce between bowls, and top with chopped cilantro. Serve warm.
Banana pancakes with raspberry sorbet and croquant
gluten free, dairy free
1 ripe banana
Mash ripe banana well using fork, add in whisk eggs.
Warm pan to medium, cook small pancakes on each side.
100g of mix of chopped almonds and nuts (hazelnut, cashew, pistachio etc)
grated zest of ½ orange
2 tbsp. honey, generous amount of ground cinnamon
Heat a large frying pan. Add a mix of nuts to the hot pan,and then add honey and cinnamon. Stir frequently with a spatula until the nuts turn golden brown and smell mouth-watering. Remove from pan.
350 g frozen raspberries
1 frozen sliced banana
2 tbsp. coconut milk
Blend the fruit and the coconut milk until the fruit is completely liquified and no more chunks of fruit remain.
Serve two pancakes with raspberry sorbet and add some croquant on the top.