Immunity boosting recipe: Spicy Elderberry Syrup with Aronia Berries

In Northern Europe, where I’m currently based in, late August is the season for ripe elderberries. Seeing them on the path of my daily walk reminds me of the amazing health benefits of these little black berries.

Elderberries are probably best known as a remedy against influenza, but multiple studies show their benefits on the immunity system and inflammation in general [1] [2].

I’m a big fan of top-quality, ready-made elderberry syrup by Gaia, made of organic elderberries and all-natural ingredients and have been taking it for years. But more recently, I discovered that it’s super easy to make elderberry syrup at home – it’s much cheaper and even better can be upgraded with ingredients like extra spices and other superfood berries like Aronia!


2 dl Dried organic elderberries
1/2 -1 Tbs Apple pectin powder. 1 Tbs gives the syrup more solid, jelly-like texture. Adjust the amount to your taste
3 Tbs Organic raw honey (can be adjusted to your taste)
800 ml Water
3 cm fresh ginger, sliced into thin slices
1 tsp Grinded allspice
1/2 dl Dried Aronia berries


1. Place all the ingredients except the pectin and the honey in a middle-sized pot. Bring the mixture to boil.

2. Reduce the temperature to low. Let the mixture simmer for 45-60 minutes.

3. Strain the mixture through a strainer to separate the liquid from the solid.

4. Stir in the pectin. Mix well. Let the mixture cool to a body temperature.

5. Mix the honey to the mixture. Stir well to create an equal mixture.

6. Transfer the mixture to a glass bottle. Keep cold in the fridge.



Medicinal mushroom recipe: Shiitake iri Yasai no Grill (Grilled vegetables with shiitake mushroom on raspberry balsamic sauce)

A quintessential ingredient in the Japanese cuisine, shiitake is found in a wide variety of dishes – soups, stir-fries, rice dishes, and others. Both fresh and dried shitakes are available, and the latter is used to make broths.

Lovers of health eating will find many reasons to enjoy these delicious mushrooms often; eritadenine, a compound uniquely found in shiitake, can improve blood lipids (cholesterols) and lower blood pressure. They are also high in fibre, and 100 g of dried shiitakes contain a whopping 42 g of both water-soluble and water-insoluble fibres. Finally, shiitake is a decent source for a provitamin ergosterol that gets converted into vitamin D by UV lights. How wonderful that we can get in ourselves all these goodies while enjoying the delicious dish!

Servings: 4


8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems chopped off and sliced into half

1 small zucchini, cut into 1 cm slices

2 medium potatoes, cut into 5 mm slices

1 medium onion, sliced into 6-7 mm slices

12 cherry tomatoes, cut into half

200 g sweet potato, Japanese kabocha, or squash, sliced into 3 mm slices

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and black pepper to taste

[Raspberry Balsamic Sauce]

4 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbs Balsamic vinegar

50 g of fresh or frozen raspberries, pureed

Salt and black pepper to taste

Cooking steps:

1. Turn on the oven to 175 C degrees

2. Place the shiitakes, potatoes, zucchini, onion, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes in a heat-resistant form. Distribute the sliced garlics evenly. Drizzle the olive oil on the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper

3. Place the form in the oven and grill for 20-40 minutes depending on the choice of vegetables or until the vegetables are done

4. In a small bowl mix all the ingredients for the Raspberry Balsamic Sauce

5. Smear half of the sauce equally on the plates. Place the vegetables on top of the sauce. Drizzle the rest of the sauce equally on the vegetables.


Healthy Japanese Recipe: Kabocha to Ingen no Syoyu Bataa Itame (Kabocha and green beans sautéed in soy sauce & butter)

There are many kinds of pumpkins, and the kind you will find in Japan is called kabocha. Kabocha is sweet and has a firm texture, making it a favourite ingredient for baking and desserts. Its naturally sweet taste also renders itself to nice sweet-savory dishes, like this one!

Kabocha is rich in many vitamins and minerals such as beta-carotenoid, vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium. It’s also a great source for fiber, and a 100 g contains 3,5 g of this important dietary component.

This easy-to-make recipe is both delicious and full of vital nutrition.   

Servings: 4


500 g Kabocha, cut into 4 cm cubes. If you are using a whole kabocha, take out the seeds first

200 g Beef, sliced into 5 mm thick slices (parts with a moderate amount of fat work best)

250 g fresh or frozen green beans

3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 Tbs butter

1 and ½ Tbs Soy sauce

Salt and black pepper to taste

Cooking Steps:

  1. Season the sliced beef with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Put the kabocha in a medium-sized pot. Pour water to completely cover the kabocha cubes
  3. Cook the kabocha until they become soft about 15 minutes. Strain off the water. Set aside.
  4. In a frying pan (or a wok pan) melt the butter at a medium-high temperature. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  5. Add the beef to the frying pan stirring the meat until cooked about 1-2 minutes
  6. Lower the temperature to low-medium. Add the green beans stirring constantly to avoid burning. Cook until the beans achieve desired tenderness about 5-7 minutes
  7. Add the kabocha. Turn off the stove.
  8. Add the soy sauce and mix gently. Be careful not to mush the kabocha
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Tip: If you were lucky and got hold on a whole kabocha, you can freeze the leftover potion. Cube and cook. Let them cool. Once cooled, you can portion the cooked kabocha cubes into freezer bags and freeze.