Kids and Food

2018-06-BettinaJune18I am going to let you in on a secret; I have a very picky five-year-old on my hands. Up until the age of two she used to eat pretty much anything. I remember my hubby and I getting comments at our Saturday breakfast spot from onlookers as our daughter would drink up green juice and exclaim, "Yummy!" My mum bubble was complete.

Unfortunately, from one day to another it completely changed. Suddenly everything was, “Yuck!”, including any type of vegetable. Teachers at school found it particularly entertaining, considering my line of work! I remember going through a similar stage when I was my daughter’s age - the difference being that I just didn't eat anything at all.

However, we never stressed about it.

What to do?

1. Give her more of what she loves in 100 different varieties - I’m specifically talking about pasta, here!

2. Don't stress about making the same meals over and over. The main thing is that at least your kid’s eating.

3. Introduce different foods slowly. As long as she gives them a go, it's a win!

4. Involve her in the process; being part of the preparation (peeling, chopping and cooking) means your kid is more likely to try something new.

5. Letting your kid make the choice of what goes on to her plate. Touching, smelling and feeling what you’re about to eat is all part of the sensory experience.

6. I am going to say it again - don't stress, take it slowly and have patience. She is still a picky eater but is heaps better and a lot more willing to include different foods into her diet. It's a work in progress.

7. One of the easiest ways to include more veg in our children’s diets is to blend or mix them into their favourite sauces. Classic tomato sauce is the perfect example of a staple kids’ food being turned into a vitamin-packed meal. Chunkier vegetables that might normally get picked out, such as carrots, greens and potatoes are fantastic incorporated into pancakes and breads.

8. Having a very strong-willed little girl, I’ve come to realise that letting her choose what she wants to eat and put on her plate encourages her to be more adventurous. Using a plate with different compartments allows you to separate foods and let your kids try three or four different options at mealtimes. If the plates are fun and colourful, that’s an added bonus!

9. Last but not least, it all starts with parents – we should set a good example for how our children eat and view food. I try to involve my daughter as much possible by bringing her along to shops and farmers’ markets – she even has a little woven basket, which she is encouraged to fill with a selection of fresh food – and we play games where she learns the different names of fruits and vegetables. These outings take a little bit longer (as you can imagine!) but teach her where her food comes from – hopefully this will leave a lasting impression.

Every type of Delicious at Delicias


The Delicias Gourmet Group in Nueva Andalucia and Marbella does what it says on the tin – it specialises in gourmet products. But it goes much further than just selling tasty food.

The Delicias Gourmet Group is the parent company of a number of brands. Its goal is to source and offer the best products to their customers and in doing so provide them with a unique experience. But they don’t stop at that: the group is also renowned for it outstanding catering services, personalised ‘chef at home’ and its home delivery service that delivers in under two hours. Furthermore, its retail establishments can easily be identified by their detailed attention to the interior design and aesthetics, as well as the attentive and professional staff.

Currently it has three distinctive outlets for its gourmet products, each one providing the highest quality products in the Marbella area.


Delicias de la Huerta is a charming shop that has been recently refurbished and offers a fantastic selection of Spanish-grown and imported fruit an d vegetables from selected suppliers. There is no doubt that freshness and quality are the trademarks of their products. But fruit and vegetables are not the only products they sell. There is fresh-baked bread, gourmet teas, and there is also a magnificent wine cellar, with many of the wines exclusive to the shop. Plus, it is an excellent place to buy gifts for birthdays and other special occasions.

Address: Av. de los Girasoles,
Nueva Andalucia, Marbella, Spain.
Phone nº: 952 81 67 96


Casa Kobe World Meats is the best establishment for top quality national and imported meat on the Costa del Sol. It is worth visiting just to view the counter and discover its unique variety of products, all indicating the place of origin. As one might imagine, given its name, it is the place to go for Kobe beef. But you can also buy ready-to-cook dishes such as Tandoori and Balti chicken. It also stands out for its personalised cutting service, and if you think the meat is exquisite, don’t overlook the products available at its Gourmet Cheese Factory counter, and its specially selected wine cellar. 

Address: Plaza de las Orquídeas,
Marbella, Spain.
Phone nº: 951 39 86 18


This is one of the most charming establishments in Marbella’s Old Town, and a mandatory stop for tourists and residents due to its attractive façade. The interior offers a large display of exclusive gourmet and delicatessen products. It is easy to lose track of time in between its shelves and the attentive staff always has some new product prepared for customers to taste, such as the exquisite Italian cheese with truffles. Like at other Delicias emporiums, there is also a fantastic array of international wines available at this shop and staff are on hand to help you choose the right one for the occasion. It is also renowned for its famous sweet cones that will satisfy anyone with a ‘gourmet’ craving for sugar.

Address: Calle Caridad 8
Marbella, Spain
Phone nº: 951 39 86 18

How to Make Clever Food Swaps

2017BETTINALike most of the people I know, I started this year with a long list of New Year’s resolutions. Drink less booze; eat more healthily; exercise more; save money. Oh, and I also promised to drink more water and always to take my make-up off before I go to bed.

It’s pretty pathetic, but the one thing I managed to stick to is eating more veggies and staying clear of gluten, with which I know I have a big issue. Whether you are going plant based or have a newly discovered allergen, finding and sussing out food swaps can be hard work to begin with. With so many products out there right now and so much choice it’s a food jungle!

I am going to talk you through some great swaps that you can do with the usual suspects and supply you with a couple of recipes to try. Let’s go!

Clever swaps

Milk - Nut milks (almond, cashew, walnut hemp) or soy, coconut, rice and oat milk to name a few.

Butter - Olive oil, coconut butter.

Eggs - chia & flax (works as a great egg replacement) mashed bananas, sweet potato puree, apple puree.

Cream - lots of options: coconut, soy or vegetable cream.

Ice cream - frozen blended bananas (add other fruits for flavour).

Scrambled eggs - tofu scramble.

Chicken or beef – tempeh.

Yeast - use bicarbonate of soda instead.

Gluten-free flour options - buckwheat, rice, teff, corn, tapioca, potato flour.

egg whites - aqua faba, chickpea water that you whip (it works, trust me).

Mince - lentils, walnuts, black beans.

Yogurt - coconut yogurt, almond yogurt, oat yogurt.

To make it easier here are some of my favourite recipes:

Homemade Coconut Yogurt


2 Cups (120 grams) fresh coconut meat.

½ Cup (60 grams) cashews, soaked.

1 capsule probiotics.

Water to blend, if needed.


Blend coconut meat, cashews and water until smooth. Add probiotic and blend until just combined. Place in a bowl (covered by a muslin cloth), in a dehydrator at 105° Fahrenheit, for eight to 10 hours or, if you don't have a dehydrator, keep in a warm place for eight to 10 hours or overnight.

The yogurt needs to be in a warm place, but with a good airflow. Once fermented, stir well. The yogurt will develop a crust, which is still edible. You can scrape it off if you choose, but it does stir in well. When your yogurt is ready, you can flavour it with anything you want. I love using maple syrup and vanilla! Add and stir in.

Almond Milk


1 part pre-soaked almonds. 

2 parts water (I like my almond milk milky, you can use more water if you like).

1 tsp. of agave.

1 pinch of salt (Himalayan).

1 tsp. of coconut oil.

Half a vanilla pod (the leftover stalk I put in a jar of porridge oats or anything else that might benefit from the delicious smell).


Blend nuts and water in a blender until you start getting a milky texture. Use a sieve to separate the pulp from the milk. Put the milk back in the blender and add agave, salt, vanilla and coconut oil and give it another whizz.

I like using a glass jar or bottle to store the milk, as it’s better than plastic and keeps for longer in the fridge.

What do you do with the pulp? I dehydrate mine to make almond flour, use in a cake or make little chocolate balls covered in sesame seeds!

You can make so many different milks, so don’t limit yourself to almonds.

There is hazelnut, sunflower and Brazil nut to name just a few of my favourites.

Great shops in Marbella to get alternative products

  1. Health shop in Montehalcones
  2. Miadel - Swedish supermarket with many vegan/veggie options
  3. Skandi - Another Swedish shop at the La Campana roundabout.
  4. Leo´s La Campana - Great for bulk shopping nuts, seeds, flours and lots of gluten free options.
  5. Small health shop near the Passion Café – A small shop with a substantial selection.
Bettina's Kitchen

2018-05-Bettina1. You had a very multicultural past, having lived and worked in Tanzania, Sweden, Italy, Spain and Bulgaria. Which is the one county or culture that you feel has had the biggest influence on your cooking?

I think that I carry a part of each country that I am from, have lived in or worked in. I tend to get very inspired by my surroundings on a “here and now” basis. It’s impossible to choose just one. I am also very lucky to come from a family of very good home cooks each amazing at their own thing.

1. Where else in the world would you like your culinary journey to take you? 

I would like to visit Japan and more of Asia and also I have yet to discover parts of South America. I love travelling to anywhere I haven't been!

1. What made you adopt a vegan diet?

I am not vegan. Actually I carry no label at all. Most of what I eat  on a personal level is plant-based and gluten-free. The latter because of a severe intolerance. However, professionally and what I specialise in as a chef is “vegan cuisine” and also 'free-from' cooking that covers the most common allergens. 

1. What misconceptions do people have about following a plant-based diet?

That the food is boring, unsatisfying, expensive and time-consuming. I would argue against all of those points.

1. If you were to cook for someone who hasn’t eaten a vegan meal before, what would you prepare?

When I cook for clients at retreats I call the first meal “A hug”. It’s the “everything is going to be ok” meal. I usually cook a comforting pasta, because it is an ingredient so many of us recognise and feel safe with. And I always end with a dessert such as a chocolate mousse - again something that most people love.

1. You’ve just published your first cookbook ‘Happy Food’ – how would you describe it and what inspired you to write it?

It’s a collection of recipes that I have cooked professionally over the years at retreats for clients, or taught at workshops. It’s easy, accessible, vegan food that is also comforting. I have taken into account subjects that are relevant today such as the 'waste not' aspect, creating recipes for 1 or 2 person households, and I’ve made sure to use ingredients that are basic and can be found in most supermarkets and countries nowadays.

1. Given the title of the book, do you think that food can affect our moods?

Yes! I think that food and mood go hand in hand! Cooking/feeding/eating are such emotional actions. We all know whether we feel great, or not so good, after a meal, don't we? Cooking a meal for yourself or a big family feast is an emotional affair. A lot of care goes into sourcing your produce, deciding what to cook and the act itself. The effort, love and time that goes into cooking a meal is all emotional. I think somewhere along the line we sometimes forget that a meal is a gift to oneself. Every single part of that meal goes into our body to feed our cells and nourish us. As cheesy as it may sound, I also think we feast with our eyes. It’s the first sense that gets hit! So in a way it is important that we make food look attractive, appetising and even give it a hint of excitement! (I am well aware that we don't always have the time to do this ). I don't know about you, but when I am served a beautiful plate of food it genuinely makes me happy!!

1. What philosophy or values guide your approach to cooking?

Simplify: use simple, good quality ingredients. Buy as much local and seasonal produce as possible: it tastes better and you support your local community. Being able to rustle up a meal quickly and without fuss is important, because time is something we have less and less of, so this is important. The south of Spain has amazing markets and incredible produce.

1. You’re a busy working mum - what is your best time saving advice when it comes to cooking? 

Set aside some time on a weekend and plan your meals ahead. Batch cook and freeze. Don’t stress about cooking recipes more than once and take that 'perfect mum' pressure off that says everything has to be special. The fact that your child eats a home cooked meal is a gift in itself! Trust me I know.

1. What has changed in the vegan culinary scene since you started?

The judgements about it. When I started out, not many of my friends and family knew what I was doing. It’s definitely so much more mainstream now and “the in thing to do”. It makes a massive difference! There are exciting times ahead! Marbella is quickly catching on the wellness bug and it’s exciting to see it all unfold.

1. What are some of the must-have staples that every vegan should have in their kitchen? 

Pasta, good flours, jarred pulses for quick fixes, a good selection of spices, good quality grains and nuts. Pantry basics I guess, and of course lots of veggies and fruits.

1. What are your favourite restaurants in Marbella? 

Dezentral has always been a favourite ( I pretty much wrote the book there). I love Gioa for raw/vegan and the owner did the same courses as I did - I am a fan. Last, but not least,I love a Spanish hidden gem - one of those places that you stumble across that makes awesome food. There are a few here.

Bettinas Book is out on Amazon now!

Soak your Nuts, Seeds and Grains


When entering ‘plant based’ or ‘free from’ as in ‘allergen-free heaven’ there is a whole new jungle of information on how to do things. One of those methods you will stumble across is soaking (activating) nuts, seeds and grains and pulses. The soaking process makes nuts more digestible and removes bitter flavours without requiring roasting.

This process also removes enzyme inhibitors that exist in the skin of the nuts. Enzyme inhibitors are what allow nuts to stay dormant until they are soaked, sprouted, and ready to grow. It's nature's way of preserving the life force so they can reproduce in the future.

Not all nuts have enzyme inhibitors: brazil, macadamia, hazelnuts and pistachios are nuts that don't need to be soaked for activating reasons. But doing so will make them easier to work with.

Cashews are particularly susceptible to sliminess and should not be soaked for longer than six hours. The harder the nut, such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios, the longer you will need to soak them.

Nuts with more oils such as brazil nuts, pecans, and walnuts, become saturated more easily.

Keep in mind, the longer nuts soak the more waterlogged they become and you may require less water in your recipe.

Often, one or two nuts will rise to the top. It's a good idea to discard these floaters as it usually means they have gone rancid.

This is a good starting point to soaking. Once you get into a habit this will come naturally!

To buy Bettina´s upcoming Book Happy Food - Pop on Over to Amazon and PRE ORDER YOUR COPY!


Almonds 12-14 hours
Cashews 3-6 hours
Hazelnuts 7-12 hours
Macadamias 7-12 hours Peanuts 7-12 hours
Pecans 7-12 hours
Walnuts 7-12 hours
Pine nuts 7-12 hours
Sunflower seeds 7-12 hours

Homemade Almond Milk


One part pre-soaked almonds

Two parts water (I like my almond milk milky, you can use more water if you like to equal three parts)

1 tsp. of agave

1 pinch of salt (Himalayan)

1 tsp. of coconut oil

Half a vanilla pod (the leftover stalk I put in a jar of porridge oats or anything that can benefit from the delicious smell of vanilla).


Blend nuts and water together in a blender until you start getting a milky texture. Use a sieve to separate the pulp from the milk.

Put milk back in a blender and add agave, salt, vanilla and coconut oil and give it another whizz.

I like using a glass jar or bottle to store the milk – it’s more eco-friendly than plastic and keeps better in the fridge.

What do you do with the pulp? I dehydrate mine to make almond flour, use in a cake or make little chocolate balls covered in sesame seeds.

You can make many different milks, so don’t limit yourself to almonds.

There is hazelnut, sunflower and brazil nut to name a few of my favourites.

Basil Mayo


1 cup (120 grams) of cashews (pre-soaked for at least 4-6 hours)
1/2 cup (120 grams) of water or as much needed to get the mix going
Handful of basil
1 tsp of nutritional yeast
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
1/2 clove of garlic
Pinch of salt (Himalayan)
Pinch of black pepper


Put all your ingredients in a blender and mix until creamy smooth.

If mixture is a bit slow add small amounts of water until it blends easily.

Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

Wine & Cheese Moments

201711-WINEThough pairing wine and cheese is a centuries-old tradition it can still be a challenging and difficult task. The best thing to do is to follow some simple principles to achieve an exquisite experience. Generally hard cheeses are better with reds, soft cheeses with whites and blue cheeses with sweet wines. With this concept in mind you should be able to make cheese and wine pairing less complicated and more enjoyable.

D Wine Advice

Suggested Pairings for Spanish Wine Styles

Light bodied whites like Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc, Light Godello should ideally be paired with goats’ cheese and fresh cheeses.

Medium-bodied whites and dessert wines like Rioja and Priorat Whites and Navarra´s Chardonnay pair well with goats’ cheese, alpine cheeses and aged Goudas.

Medium reds like Ronda´s Pinot Noir, Rioja, Syrah, Grenache, and Tempranillo should be paired with Cheddar, younger Goudas and washed rind cheeses.

Bold Tannic Reds like Jumilla´s Cabernet Sauvignon Blends, aged Tempranillo vines from Rioja and Ribera and Consistent Castille y Leon Syrah pair fabulously with full-flavored mixed milk cheeses, hard Cheeses and sheep milk cheese.

Sweet and Off-Dry Whites and Reds like Malaga´s Muscat, Sweet Monastrell from the South, Cream Sherry, Fondillon and PX from Montilla go well with blue cheese.

Some Ideal Cheese & Wine Matches

Camemberg & Champagne

San Simon & Albariño

Brie & Chardonnay

Crabs & Godello

Oysters & Chablis

Chevre & Pinot Gris

Apenzeller & Viognier

Gruyere & Sauvignon Blanc

Pont L’Eveque & Riesling

Feta & Beaujolais

Manchego & Rioja

Parmesan & Brunello

Truffle Pecorino & Barolo

Cheddar & Bordeaux

Roquefort & Sauternes

Stilton & Port

Finally, if you are going to attempt multiple pairings at a dinner or event, order the tastes from lightest and lowest alcohol content, to heaviest and highest alcohol content. In other words, begin with the lightest, from left to right on a cheese board and work your way to the heaviest and most complex.

And remember -  you can find a great selection of all Spanish and International cheese at D-Wine. Let us do the pairing for you, just come along for an unique experience.

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