6.30.2014

ARTICHOKE AND CHICKPEA SALAD

Artichoke and Chickpea Salad
I'm quite excited to be publishing this recipe as it is my very first own creation. Since I started the blog I've always been trying customized versions of others' recipes, and to be honest, at some point I started to feel that it was time for me to give a try to my creativity. And I've done it! Hurray!

What I like the most about this salad is that it combines both hot and cold. It's nice because it makes it perfect to have it either in summer or in winter, and, in addition, you can easily change its ingredients and make it with any vegetables you fancy.

So here you have it. Hope you like it! 

Artichoke and Chickpea SaladArtichoke and Chickpea Salad ARTICHOKE AND CHICKPEA SALAD

Serves 4

300 g cooked chickpeas
200 g fresh spinach
1 large yellow onion
1 large artichoke
2 medium tomatoes
100 g goat cheese or cottage cheese, crumbled
100 g kalamata olives or black olives
Handful pumpmkin seeds
Fresh or dry oregano, to sprinkle 
Sea salt
Virgin olive oil

·Cut the tomatoes in quarters and mix them with the olives and cheese. Let chill in the fridge while preparing the chickpea hodgepodge.
·Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Afterwards, put the spinach inside and cook them for about fifteen minutes. Drain them and set aside.
·Cut the onion into small pieces. Peel the artichokes and cut them into eighths. Sauté the onion, spinach and artichokes until golden and once it's done, add the cooked chickpeas to the pan and mix them with the other ingredients so they get all coated with the already sautéed mixture.
·Remove the pan from the cook and add the chilled blend to it. Mix again, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and the oregano and dress it to your taste.
·Enjoy!

Artichoke and Chickpea Salad

4.19.2014

MANGO-BANANAGURT

Mango-bananagurt

"Today is the first day of Spring", said Clementine in her particular tender yellow-coloured voice. She had been looking forward that day for almost a month, and now that was happening, she couldn't stop herself from telling everyone what a marvelous thing was going on. 

Somehow, it seemed as if she had been chosen for this task by one of these ethereal yet omnipotent natural forces: she was the spring messenger. And she was indeed really good at it. She had some kind of innate talent to spread the season essence over the atmosphere; one could nearly notice it, but we were all being coated with this strange, mysterious scent everyone's sprinkled with whenever spring arrives. 

And that was spring: mainly Clementine.

Mango-bananagurt


Mango-bananagurt

MANGO-BANANAGURT

Serves 2

I had been thinking about a few recipes for a while, I had some options but they didn't seem to convince me at all. I was particularly looking for something colorful, vivid. Something that made me vive. Something simple yet extremely powerful. Something that could picture Clementine's spring spirit. Something like what came into my mind after checking Belen's blog

1 very ripe mango
2 very ripe bananas
3 tsp lime juice
Strawberries, sliced
Blueberries
Pomegranate seeds
Sesame seeds

·Peel and slice the mango and the bananas. Mix the fruits and the lime juice by using a food processor or blender until you get a smooth, yellowish fusion.
·Separate the mixture into two different bowls and top with the strawberries, the blueberries and the pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and there you have it!

Mango-bananagurt

12.25.2013

HOMEMADE HONEY AND CHOCOLATE OATS YOGHURT

Honey and Chocolate Oats Yogurt

Listen.
Sometimes it just feels great to empty your mind. 
Read through no words. 
Let tiredness hold you. 
Power will come back on time - promise.
Meanwhile: just because.

Merry Christmas folks!

Honey and Chocolate Oats Yogurt
Honey and Chocolate Oats Yogurt


HOMEMADE HONEY AND CHOCOLATE OATS YOGHURT


Serves 4

I came up with this recipe a few days ago. It is a mixture between two recipes I had been having in mind for a while and decided would fit perfectly together with a touch of honey. On one hand I had this super simple yoghurt recipe from the Green Kitchen Stories Cookbook, which I actually didn't use but would recommend to do it, and on the other hand I had another super simple recipe of how to make chocolate "krispies" at home, that I versioned a bit. 

I like the way this combination flows, as the sweetness of the honey gently amalgamates with the dark chocolate's acid essence, creating a perfect balanced contrast that finds its way through a yoghurt scene. However, this delectable poetry is left to a mess with my words. It is, then, with the sight and the experience of preparing the recipe when one can really appreciate the beauty of the composition. 

Chocolate oats

Half of a biologic dark chocolate bar (you can either use milk chocolate or white one, or any chocolate of your taste)
Rolled oats (there's no specific measure, it's all a balance between the amount of chocolate and oats you combine)

Homemade yoghurt (from Green Kitchen Stories)

(I said I didn't actually use this recipe; I had no thermometer on hand so I couldn't prepare the yoghurt by myself. Instead, I bought some fresh farmer's yoghurt, which is a great option too if you want to safe time)

120 ml plain yoghurt (or from a previous batch of homemade yoghurt)
1 litre whole milk

You will also need

1 thermometer for liquids
Runny honey

·Melt the chocolate (use a bain-marie technique or pour a little bit of water to the chocolate and then melt it in the microwave. Do not use milk, otherwise, chocolate's essence will be lost).
·In a bowl, combine both the melted chocolate and the rolled oats. Blend together and add more chocolate or oats according to the amount of each component you have. You'll know you've finished once the oats are fully coated with all the chocolate.
·Cover a tray with baking paper and place the oats on it. Put the tray in the fridge and let freeze (for an hour minimum).
·As for the yoghurt, gently heat the milk to 82ºC and then allow it to cool to 43ºC. Stir in the yoghurt and transfer the mixture into a large glass container.
·Cover the container with a kitchen towel or a plate and put it in a warm place, at about 65ºC - such as a heated  (but turned off) oven or the airing cupboard - overnight.
·In the morning, the yoghurt will have grown and thickened. Transfer to glass jars and refrigerate.
·When the yoghurt is cold, fill the bottoms of other glass jars with honey (the quantity is up to you). Then place the yoghurt and finally, sprinkle the chocolate oats over it.
·Serve imediatelly or keep in the fridge for less than 2 hours.

Honey and Chocolate Oats Yogurt

11.08.2013

QUINOA, SPINACH AND PUMPKIN PILAF

Quinoa, Spinach and Pumpkin Pilaf

I don't like to tag nor classify people. I reckon the world is the way it is and try to respect all possible thoughts, despite agreeing or not with them. However, when it comes to friendship, I can't stop myself from being rather selective. Don't misunderstand me, I'm obviously not talking about choosing friends - we don't choose this things, is friendship who puts people together. What I'm talking about has to do with the real meaning of the word friend. 

I've recently realized about the changeable quality that characterizes everyone's conception of life, as while we grow up, the way the world exposes to us keeps evolving unpredictably. We usually have a more flexible perception of facts when we are children. We know barely nothing and we design everything the way we want. We give answers to our questions, without minding whether they are right or wrong; and after, we ask elders about their theories just to prove how ordinary and creativeness their minds are. We're evil in this way - true -, but considering our destitute of knowledge, forgiveness becomes our most valuable shield.

Childhood is also when friendship is built for the first time. We are disclosed to an immensity among which can be found those ones who we will befriend someday. It's all part of a process that begins with a feeling of unfamiliarity and puzzlement but that ends up by spinning a highly complex tangle of truth and falsehood, also known as social circle.

And I apology in advance, but it's true: amity can be both wholesome and detrimental. I guess that's because we've perverted the primordial essence of it. These days, we tend to tag everyone we know as "a friend of mine", and that's not something bad - of course not! It's just a common way of saying things. However, when things turn out to be tough and our life is held in a jumble of depression, how many of our "friends" are there trying to cheer us up? And even more important, though as not that easily perceptive, who are the ones who know how to appreciate our joy and make it theirs too?

Friends.

Think about it. Don't blame yourself for finding out that you just have a few number of them. Listen, our life is built and embellished by hundreds of people, and it's more than clear that all of them have a vital role in it. It doesn't mind whether they are close relatives, friends, mates, or even enemies; because however they contribute to our journey, they do it because they care about us. So there's no reason for feeling bad when being honest with ourselves and assuming which of these hundreds of brilliant life architectures can be considered friends.

Quinoa, Spinach and Pumpkin Pilaf
Is this dimension of thoughts that leads me on to tell you about Aimée, who's actually the reason and origin of the following recipe and the already exposed philosophical reflection. I presume you imagine she is one of those in my life tagged as "a friend". Congrats to you, skilled detectives. I'd say, though, that she is "a most loved friend" (and I thank her for letting me borrow this words from her).

Their parents named her Aimée because there was some kind of underlying force that drove them to do so. She was bound to be named like that even before anyone knowing about her existence. The universe had planned everything in such an admirable accuracy that the invisible (but still there) bow between her name and she, can be appreciated with ease once you get to know her.

As far as friendship is concerned (and I thank her again for her borrowed words), I don't want to tell you anything crucial. I consider you are all well instructed in the affair - mutual comprehension, reciprocal thoughtfulness, shared unforgettable experiences, and so on. What I consider special, or at least anomalous, is the fact that I can't get angry at her. She's the perfect stereotype of what I call a "healthy person", that I can't even picture us fighting. And this is something I love, because it basically shows the ethereal connection we have.

And so here I am, doing this for her. Because I promised her a while ago I'd do this.

Aimée, this is for you - and for your pumpkin toned hair.

Quinoa, Spinach and Pumpkin Pilaf
QUINOA, SPINACH AND PUMPKIN PILAF


Serves 4

I've taken the idea from the Green Kitchen Stories' original recipe. However, I've quite changed it a bit, specially because I wanted the ingredients to be fall based and, obviously, it had to contain pumpkin (in honor to Aimée's hair). I also made it simple, I think. Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by the gigantic range of ingredients the recipes are supposed to deal with, and the fact that I usually try to cook with local, seasonal and easy to find ingredients, often leads me on to the creation of simpler versions of the original ideas.

David and Luise cooked with black rice and green lentils whereas I've decided to try with a combination of quinoa and whole grain rice, as suggested on their blog. You can also have a go with other type of grains, whichever you like most or just have on hand (and feel free to do the same with the other ingredients).

If it comes to the salad ingredients I've used, I'd like to remark the contrast between the freshness that gives the pomegranate and the mildness of the honey sweetened pumpkin. In addition, the mix between quinoa and whole grain rice turns out to be fairly soft, so one can taste more the complementary ingredients as well as distinct the different textures the hodgepodge has.

Quinoa and whole grain rice mix

160 g quinoa (preferable soaked)
160 g whole grain rice (preferable soaked)
1 liter water
1 tsp sea salt

Roasted pumpkin

1 pinch sea salt and black pepper
4 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp for massaging the spinach leaves
1/2 pumpkin (or any other squash), cut into small cubes
4 tsp runny honey
1 pinch cinnamon (optional)

Salad ingredients

200 g spinach leaves, finely chopped
1 pomegranate, peel removed
1 small handful raw pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
5 dried apricots, coarsely chopped (optional)
125 ml yogurt, to serve

·Preheat the oven to 200 ºC / 400 ºF.
·Rinse and drain quinoa and rice. Then place in a saucepan, add water and salt, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook gently for about 20 minutes or until tender and all the water has been absorbed.
·Meanwhile, stir together salt, pepper and olive oil. Place the cubed pumpkin and the mixture in an oven-proofed layer and toss to cover. After, sprinkle the honey and the pinch of cinnamon to give sweetness to the squash.
·Bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes or until soft on the inside and slightly browned on the outside.
·Set both the quinoa and the whole grain rice mix and the roasted pumpkin aside to cool.
·Now prepare the salad ingredients. Place the chopped spinach in a medium serving bowl, add olive oil and massage the leaves for a couple of minutes. Add all ingredients and toss to combine. Serve with a dollop of yogurt.

Quinoa, Spinach and Pumpkin Pilaf

9.29.2013

BLACKBERRY JAM

Blackberry Jam
We were somewhere out of nowhere. It had been raining for a while. Our boots were wet. Feet, cold. The sun was shining by that time though, so I took my shoes off and walked on naked feet. The ground was rocky and you could see messy branches all over it. But there was no pain, just a strange energy flowing from the earth to my nude feet.

That was nature. 

Blackberry Jam

I find hard to think about something more powerful than nature. I just know an infinitesimal, or even less, part of it and I can already feel an unmeasurable strength coming from it. I wonder, then, how would it be to perceive all its magical essences at the same time; its different faces, colours, smells or venoms, all of them caressing my cheeks. Perhaps, I'd fall, or maybe I'd be too shocked in astonishment to realise about the hole unbelievable experience.

And then, apart from this enormity, there are those tiny, practically undetectable things that make nature much more beautiful. I'm talking about colourful, different-sizes-and-textures details. I'm talking about all these things you can come across with when you find yourself somewhere out of nowhere, surrounded by nature.

These are the gems hid in this golden chest called universe.

Blackberry Jam

The day I was walking on bare feet, hundreds of blackberries appeared in my way. In fact, I was there to find some of them, but I hadn't expected to see such an enormous amount. I was amazed, trapped in wonder. The only thing I could do was start picking up those little delicacies, being careful, though, not to take an excessive quantity, since other lucky people may discover that paradise some day and would like to try them too.

What I was going to do with the blackberries was easy to decide. I was determined: I had to try that old recipe written in my mum's recipe book. Since my aunt gave the recipe to my mum a while ago, she has made it for us a few times. The results have always been delightful, but what I really desired was to prepare the recipe by myself and obtain those results.

This time I've done it, and I want to share the secret with you. Be aware and free your feet, there we go.

Blackberry Jam BLACKBERRY JAM

This is an old recipe that has passed from elder generations to younger ones in my family. It takes time to be prepared, but the results are well worth. We make it at home every year when it's time for blackberries; it has became a tasty tradition that no one wants to miss.

1 kg blackberries
600 gr organic natural cane sugar
1 apple
Skin of one lemon
1/2 teacup water

·In a pot, put the blackberries, sugar, skin of lemon in different slices and water. Let rest all night.
·Add the apple, peeled and sliced. Bring the pot to a boil and then cook over low heat for about two or three hours. Let rest all night.
·Sterilize the jam pots your are going to use by applying a bain-marie technique.
·Blend the jam and pour it into the pots. Close them and boil them to the bain-marie for a few more minutes.
·It keeps in the fridge for weeks. You can serve it the way you like the most!

Blackberry Jam