If you haven’t heard about Green Kitchen Stories yet, don’t blame us. We’ve been obsessing over this couple and their Nordic way of life forever. This month, David and Luise (and baby Elsa!) are launching their latest cookbook, Green Kitchen Travels, inspired by – what else? – their family travels. Most notably, their time spent up and down the coast of California and on to the culinary epicenter that is New York City.

We asked the authors to share a few highlights from their New York and California experiences, along with a recipe from the new book. This one’s a killer: gluten-free almond pumpkin waffles! Read their sweet insights and win the book for yourself below…

Best meal eaten/cooked in NYC:

We had a great brunch at Peel’s. We were celebrating something and I remember that we filled the table with soaked oats, pancakes, eggs, juices and coffee. A great brunch lasting for hours is often a lot nicer than a good dinner.

Fave NY restaurant:

We love The Butcher’s Daughter! Next time we’re in New York, we have promised ourselves to go to Dirt Candy.

Fave thing to pack for cooking when traveling:

A small hand blender is very convenient to bring. Apart from that, we always try to make do with what we can find in the kitchens we borrow/rent – it’s part of the charm to cook without all the convenient things that we’re used to.

One thing you wish you could pack to cook with when traveling:

One thing you wish you could pack to cook with when traveling: We use our Vitamix blender at least twice a day when we are home, so we kind of miss it when we are traveling. But to make up for it, we are on a constant hunt for smoothie and juice bars when we travel.

One Nordic item you wish U.S. grocers would stock:

Rosehip powder is quite common in the Nordic countries, but very hard to find in the U.S. It has a wonderful fresh flavor and is a well-known natural remedy here.

Best meal in San Francisco:

We were on a quite tight budget on that trip, so we didn’t eat out very much. We lived in the Mission District and David loved all the Mexican food from the food trucks there. Apart from that, we loved shopping fresh produce at the Bi-Rite Market or the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market, and cooking meals in our tiny San Francisco kitchen and then bringing them to Dolores Park or Ocean Beach for a picnic.

Fave experience in SF:

Drinking coffee on Valencia street. Walking up and down the hills to Whole Foods Market (we don’t have anything like it in Sweden). Picnics in Dolores Park. We were invited by a few friends that we had recently met to watch the World Series final in baseball when the San Francisco Giants won. We didn’t really understand all the rules, but it was lots of fun!

Best meal in LA or Santa Barbara:

We were quite obsessed with the açai bowls from Backyard Bowls in Santa Barbara. It was the first time we tried acai and since then we have started making it pretty regularly.

Fave aspect of cooking on the West Coast:

Definitely all the farmer’s markets and fresh produce that are available.

Fave moment with the baby in U.S. travels:

Oh, so many! On Halloween we met up with a friend in Santa Cruz that we had only met through the blog. She had prepared a skeleton costume for Elsa and we got to go with her family for trick or treat. The most fantastic thing was probably that we got to experience so much of her early development together. We had time to focus on Elsa and on each other. Also, all Americans were so sweet welcoming to us and sweet towards Elsa.

Baby's fave: NY or San Fran food?

Elsa was only seven months when we arrived in New York, so she just had small tasting portions. As we traveled to the West Coast, her appetite got bigger so I suppose we could say that she prefers San Fran food.

Strangest food ever packed:

We always carried boiled eggs with us, as it was a simple thing to give Elsa whenever she had a sudden hunger craving. Every time we passed through customs they looked suspiciously at our eggs.

Fave food moment in all U.S. travels from book:

The favorite thing was that there were so many great healthy vegetarian options available all over the West Coast (and NY). One of our favorite memories was when we were invited to a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner with some of David’s distant relatives. He had forgot to tell them that he was a vegetarian and didn’t want to insult their turkey, so he pretended that he ate a double portion while hiding it in his napkin and passing some on to me. It was a hilarious night!

Win This Book!

Want to win your own copy of Green Kitchen Travels? Simply sign up for our newsletter, then leave a comment below telling us the best dish you’ve ever eaten in your own travels!

Open to continental U.S. residents only. Giveaway closes Friday, October 3rd at 5pm PST.

Before our first visit to the U.S.A., we kept pumpkins only as decoration. They are also grown in Europe, but have never been as popular or as creatively used in recipes as in the States. After spending a few months on the West Coast during pumpkin season, we quickly learned that they can be used in practically any kind of recipe – sweet or savory. On our trip we made sure to try pumpkin pie, cheesecake and muffins, pumpkin soup and salad, pumpkin pancakes and even pumpkin spice coffee. But of all the sweet combinations, we grew most fond of the spiced pumpkin waffles that we tried in a diner just south of Big Sur, California. They were served with a slab of maple butter and after our third plate we were in a food coma for the rest of the day.

We created these with a similar mixture of spices but slightly lighter, using almond flour and buttermilk. They are still quite rich, so two waffles are usually enough for one person. If pumpkins are out of season, you can use two cups mashed ripe banana instead of the pumpkin purée.

Pumpkin & Almond Waffles (gluten-free)
Makes 10 waffles


1 small pumpkin or butternut squash, about 1 lb 2 oz, or 2 cups unsweetened pumpkin puree
6 eggs
1 cup cultured buttermilk
1/2 cup water
generous 2 cups almond flour
generous 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
2 Tbsp maple syrup or clear honey (preferably unheated), plus extra to serve
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt
a little cold-pressed coconut oil or butter


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Halve the pumpkin with a sharp knife and remove the seeds with a spoon. Place both halves on a baking tray, cut-side down, and bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes or until the skin is bubbly and slightly browned and the flesh is soft. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Spoon out the flesh into a bowl. Use a fork (or a food processor) to mash it to a purée.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Measure 2 cups pumpkin purée and add to the bowl together with the remaining ingredients except the coconut oil or butter. Stir until well combined. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes in the fridge. This is an important step, as the waffles hold together better when baking. 

Turn on your waffle iron and wait until it is hot. Brush the grids with a little coconut oil or butter then add about 4 tablespoons of the batter (less or more depending on your waffle iron) and close the lid. The waffle should be ready after about 1½ minutes. Open the lid slowly and use a fork to carefully detach it from the iron. Repeat for the remaining waffles. 

Reprinted with permission from GREEN KITCHEN TRAVELS by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, Hardie Grant, 2014. 

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From our friends


  1. My favorite foreign dining experience occurred when I traveled to Nepal earlier this year. I found the best street food imaginable! We were always picky about choosing which street vendor to visit, but this one in particular always had a large crowd gathered around it, so we knew it was the choice among the people. There were two items I fell in love with; fresh bite-sized fried pakora sprinkled with fresh cilantro, onion and a mixture of spices, and a potato spread–the woman spread it thin on a hot pan and mashed in onion, garlic, tomatoes and again a mixture of spices. My translator and I together, ate until we were full for $.35–$.95 if we added two bottles of Coke.

    Amanda Gonzales | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  2. I loved eating falafel and lentil soup with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers when I was in Egypt. I ate it from street stands and prepared by my sailboat captain while cruising down the Nile. These waffles sound awesome!

    Kate | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  3. I’ve not traveled there, but our neighbor brought us fresh Alaskan salmon from his recent fishing trip. Best I’ve ever had.

    Nicole Huckins | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  4. nyonya laksa in an unpretentious cafe in malacca, malaysia raised the bar for any future culinary experiences. this perfect bowl of noodle soup in a spicy red curry broth topped with shredded cucumber, tofu, and a hardboiled egg is perfection.

    jessica | 10.01.2014 | Reply
    • The tastiest meals that I can always recollect immediately were a simple bowl of thick soup from this tiny bakery somewhere in London; Indian flatbread ‘naan’ topped with cheese and served with mint chutney in Penang, Malaysia; and the creamiest tea in a little Indonesian cafe in Perth, Australia. Meals prepared with fresh ingredients, love and attention always taste great.

      Sasha | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  5. Hmm, so many to choose from! The most memorable was probably a fancy dinner in Paris. Escargot, french onion soup, cheese plates sooo good!

    Jessica | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  6. I love finding a fresh juice bar and getting a something delightful! That or a fresh loaf of bread and some cheese and wine! yum!!

    Rebecca Siewert | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  7. Chocolate-covered tsoureki from Terkenlis, a bakery in Thessaloniki that is famous for selling varieties of these braided sweet breads during Greek Orthodox Lent. People usually eat it together immediately after buying it while sitting along the waterfront. Soooo good!

    Maggie | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  8. I loved all the mixed textures and flavors I tasted when I went to Israel – best was a make-your-own sandwich place. I just pointed at things in the case and wound up with like 4 thick spreads (dark spicy things), tons of different oily roasted vegetables, cold fresh Israeli salad, lettuce, creamy hummus and labneh, drizzles of different vinegary liquids with whole spices suspended in them.

  9. My best travel meal was in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. There are many vendors of fish and fried plantains, yucca, name, right on the beach. I was able to chose a fresh fish which the vendor cooked in front of me and I ate it with fried plantains and a cold Presidente beer. Delicious.

    lindsay | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  10. My favorite food on travels we’ve made was any meal in Italy. No matter where we ate the food was always delicious. I can’t say that about any other place we have visited on our vacations. We were speechless by how fabulous each meal was from the tiny whole in the wall tucked away down a small alley way to a world famous restaurants. I look forward to going back again!

    Conni | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  11. Hmmm hard to choose, but in Cuzco, Peru, I tried a very original and tasty gazpacho made with lucuma, organic tomatoes and sparkling water (and more secrets ingredients I didnt have the chance to know).
    Thank you!
    Happy food!

    Chloé | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  12. My trip to Paris, I had a beautiful Saint-Pierrefillet dish, a nice sized proportion of artistic vegetables and herbs surrounding a well prepared fish. Divine.

    Grace Felsch | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  13. I love visiting farmers markets during my travels, experiencing new places and their inseason local foods. And my favorite markets are the ones that have food stands. Fresh local food made right there in front of you!

    Ashley | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  14. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Not traveling so much lately, but we enjoy cooking from different cuisines and use our kitchen as a traveling machine. I’d love to put my hands on this book…

    Ivette | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  15. I always seek out smaller restaurants when I travel that are local, farm to table and preferably vegetarian/vegan. It’s not always easy if you’re staying in a large city that’s very commercialized and strives on franchises. But I guess it’s all a part of an adventure to seek out those secret places and makes it fun to discover a city. Most recent favorite is from my trip to Boston, I had the best vegetarian beet burger from a food truck. Can’t remember the name of it, but I sure won’t ever forget the taste.

    Nataliya M | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  16. The best dish I have ever eating while travelling – Tea Leaf Salad. We were travelling to Napa and stopped for lunch in Berkeley at a Burmese restaurant called Rangoon Superstar. Everything we ordered was very good but I specially liked this salad which is made from fermented tea leaves. I am now hoping to visit Burma sometime soon forall the good food they have.

    Chhavi | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  17. My favorite meal was traveling to San Francisco this year at the Ferry Building farmers market and having the most amazing rosemary salt pork sandwich with cress and caramelized onions.

    Abby | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  18. A favorite traveling meal that I particularly crave this time of year is a simple pureed Irish vegetable soup with brown bread–warm and sustaining!

    Rebecca | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  19. signed up! and to be honest the best meal i had was always up in northern cali, the veggie burgers! yum 🙂

    cristina | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  20. My love for David and Luise (and Elsa and the new baby) knows no bounds – I’ve been following them on their Green Kitchen adventures since before they had their firstborn! I sent recommendations prior to their West Coast trip having lived in San Francisco for years and now nest in Venice. My favorite travel meal was in New Zealand’s Queenstown where my boyfriend and I had a pumpkin middle eastern wrap that was insanely delectable from a packed-to-the-gills shop down a back alleyway. I remember hummus, yogurt and hot pepper sauce dripping off my fingers and puddling on the table, and sun-ripened pumpkin and other goodies warming our bellies after a day jumping off mountain platforms with only a bungee tethering us to earth. Never been able to recreate its perfect magic although we’ve tried many times.

    leigh | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  21. The best meal I’ve ever eaten during my travels was on Christmas Eve in Oaxaca, Mexico. I was traveling with my parents and my twin sister at the age of 16, and we heard about this tiny restaurant called La Teca. When we went there that morning to get a reservation, the waiter told us the restaurant was closed. But, if our amateur Spanish-speaking ears had heard right, we could just come by at 6. We were very confused, but arrived later that evening. The family led us through the restaurant, past their Christmas tree in their small living room, and into their backyard. We didn’t order from a menu; a very kind woman simply brought us dish after dish, the same food she was serving her family. Although I really have no idea what I was eating, it was the most delicious food I’ve ever had. There were vegetables, salads, meat, and dessert, all recipes from the Isthmus of Mexico. The evening was filled with special wine, wonderful hospitality, and delicious food. It is a meal I will never forget.

    Hanna | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  22. Definitely fresh grilled octopus in Greece. It was my first time to eat octopus and it was so delicious that I still remember the taste! Since then I ate it almost every day for the rest of the trip. By the way all Greek food is amazingly tasty!

    Anna | 10.01.2014 | Reply
  23. Dear David and Luise (and Elsa and the little one), you are such an inspiration for us and we love following your adventures and trying your delicious meals. From our last road trip around Europe our favorite dish we’ve tasted was a tune stake with fresh salad from Lake Constance, Austria side. The favorite dessert was a mint and chocolate raw cake from Frankfurt. All the best wishes for the GKS family and thank you for sharing your love for food. Greetings from Finland.

    Annamaria | 10.02.2014 | Reply
  24. Green Kitchen Stories continuing to provide more delicious, healthy sustenance… I would say best meal eaten on my travels was raw Thai papaya salad , som tum, in a wooden shack jutting out over the forested mountainsides of Phuket… Ingredients coukdnt get any fresher, and enjoyed on cheap plastic chairs overlooking the sunset was incredible! Keep up the amazing recipes… Sophie

    Sophie | 10.02.2014 | Reply
  25. Great travel tips! Definitely Morning Glory Greens and Thai Jasmine rice for a beach breakfast on Koh Tao island.

    Katy | 10.02.2014 | Reply
  26. 2 years ago I traveled in India and Thailand for 6 weeks and came across many culinary adventures. But the best food experiences I had while participating at a cooking class in Chiang Mai, Thailand with Yui from “A lot of Thai”. She took us to the local Farmer’s Market first showing us all the great Thai veggies such as lemongrass, galangal, tamarind, kaffir lime leaves, chili, luffa, small eggplant, local mushrooms and many more. We then used all these fresh ingredients and learned how to prepare a delicious Tom-Yam-Kung, a hot & sour prawn soup, and a classic Tom-Ka-Gai and a simple but divine Green Curry over rice (which was my favorite). The best drink I enjoyed while traveling I had in Jodhpur, India at a very intimate cooking class in a small Family’s tiny kitchen were we served the best Saffron Lassi ever.

    Anna | 10.02.2014 | Reply
  27. Green Kitchen Stories is one of my fave food blogs, such pretty pictures of delicious healthy food! Currently on a 3 month road trip across the US and would looove to have their book to keep on eating a nourishing diet. One of our faves as of yet is quinoa salad with capers, fresh tomatoes, avocado and a drizzle of tahini on top; so simple, I know, but sometimes simple is better! And Austin’s Kerbey Lane Cafe brunches #foodcoma. Thank you so much David and Luise (and Elsa and baby) for sharing your love of food with us, you are amazing!

    aurora | 10.02.2014 | Reply
  28. When I was studying dance in Mexico City, my friend and I ventured out to the beautiful city of San Luis Potosi further north. I remember, in the wee hours of the morning, eating grilled onion street tacos. I was a vegetarian, and that was what was available. I can’t even remember how many of those sweet, smoky tacos I put away, but they were magical.

    Ana Maria | 10.02.2014 | Reply
  29. I was fortunate to study and intern in Europe last fall and summer. My taste buds definitely enjoyed the traveling! One of my favorite meals (there are too many to count!) was at Henderson’s, a small vegan (vg, gf, wf options as well) eatery settled between the steep streets of Edinburgh. Henderson’s warm environment offset the chilly summer temperature. Stuffed aubergine (v), filled with a combo of crushed nuts and various spices, resting on top of a cherry-wine sauce has my mouth watering as we speak! For dessert, a warm apple crumble with vanilla custard (v, wf), not to mention the ginger beer as well, was the perfect ending to a memorable meal! Yes, the food was delicious, but what makes this meal one of my favorites was sharing it with great company!

    Laura | 10.02.2014 | Reply
  30. I went out with my best friend for a nice dinner while we were studying abroad in Buenos Aires. The restaurant was known for their steaks and pasta dishes. While we both enjoyed our meals, our favorite part of the the meal was dessert which was a vanilla ice cream with a rich raspberry sauce and wafer cookies. It was quite simple but so delicious.

    Lauren | 10.02.2014 | Reply
  31. * tuna steak

    Annamaria | 10.02.2014 | Reply
  32. So many things, but I think the most memorable is a dungeness crab freshly caught and steamed straight from the ocean. Eaten with our hands at a picnic table along the coast of Oregon was amazing.

    Heather | 10.02.2014 | Reply
  33. One of my favorite meals while traveling was in Peru. After a long afternoon of hiking up the ruins in Ollantaytambo,we were treated to a wonderful lunch in the garden of a house in the nearby town. Lots of fresh, local (vegetarian) food! I love Green Kitchen Stories and always enjoy cooking up whatever David, Luise, and Elsa have to offer.

    Amanda | 10.02.2014 | Reply
  34. It’s tough to pick, but when forced…The best meal I’ve ever had traveling was on a mountain in China, just before climbing a remote section of the Great Wall. My husband and I wandered around a small town with no real restaurants, and finally ate lunch in a local family’s courtyard. We chose vegetables directly from their garden, which they whipped up into simple Chinese home cooking.

    Emily | 10.03.2014 | Reply

    The Chalkboard | 10.06.2014 | Reply
  36. I’d love to know the name of the diner and the city it was in where they had the Pumpkin waffles. I live near Big Sur, and I’m curious if it’s within driving distance of my city.

    Linzy | 10.13.2014 | Reply

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