After spending a week in Mallorca with a bunch of our friends, I came back struggling to answer the question “How were your holidays?!”. A lot of fun was had, but I have to say that despite all the regular research I usually do, Mallorca was not at all what I had expected. There were parts I loved, of course, but there were also parts I well … hated. So I thought that instead of writing an article with a week´s itinerary for the island, I´d write an honest review of what I loved, hated and I didn´t expect of Mallorca.
Inspired by Ottolenghi´s courgette, pea and basil soup, this #homemadeMonday recipe is a soup just perfect for the incoming autumn (yes, I refer to it as incoming as I still spend my weekends at the beach for the time being and am in denial). While Ottolenghi´s recipe contains double the basil of mine, I added a few teaspoons of pesto to enhance the taste, a green onion to give it a punch and I topped it up with some truffle oil. Oh, and I changed the proportions quite a bit. Keep reading for my interpretation of what is possibly one of my favourite green soups of all time (in case you, reader are Portuguese – don´t worry, caldo verde is up in the top too).
Before you tell me peanuts on a pizza sound weird, let me just stop you there. This pizza flavour is seriously one of the best ones I´ve ever tried. Nothing new about combining chevre with honey and even arugula. The innovation here comes from replacing the traditional tomato sauce on the base of the pizza with (wait for iiiiiiit) fajita sauce. Genius or idiotic, I don´t know. But I swear by it. And then the crushed peanuts on top – omg. Don´t even ask me how we came up with this combo, part of it was a fortunate accident, part just sheer madness. But it works. And you need to try it. So here goes.
This week´s recipe is not much of a recipe to be honest, but I did feel the need to record it here on my blog, just like I would in a physical recipe book. I stole the idea of this shrimp on a bed of sea salt from one of our gourmet dinners in Mallorca, at the Belmond La Residencia hotel. This was one of the nine courses we had there and its utter simplicity and amazing taste made us want to redo it at home. So we bought ourselves the two ingredients – shrimp and sea salt, and a little wooden tray that would resist maximum temperature in the oven, and we got to cooking. It took less time to cook it than it did to write this intro. You absolutely have to try it!
Cakes and pies – my nemesis. I love them (albeit I am generally I crave salty stuff more), but I generally suck at making them. The dough won´t rise, the cream will be too liquid-y, something´s bound to always go wrong. Unless. Unless we´re talking about my grandma´s strawberry cake which is suuuuuper easy to make, or Esther´s wonderfully simple nut cake, which is even easier. I´m not quite sure of the origin of this one, I just copied it from one of Nonna´s handwritten notes, with her insisting it´s actually her niece Esther´s recipe and not hers. I upgraded it with a simple chocolate cream, and voilá one of the easiest #guestchefseries editions ever.
You´re probably looking at this picture upon reading the title of the recipe and scratching your head. You are correct, the picture does not depict a sirloin steak, instead a fine chicken breast steak, on a bed of potato purée and coated in Roquefort sauce. For this recipe we´ve been experimenting with sirloin steaks AND chicken breast and while the sirloin version is definitely the yummier one (or so says hubby), I only managed to snap a picture of the chicken one. And even that picture kind of looks like a failed Michelangelo. The recipe, however, does not fail in the least. It´s bulletproof. The purée is the creamiest you´ll ever eat, and the sauce, albeit super flavourful might just convince you Roquefort is a pretty awesome cheese after all. Curious? Keep reading.
Inspired by all the potatoes I ate in my recent trips to Amsterdam (hello wedges!) and Mallorca (hello patatas bravas!), this #homemadeMonday (freshly back from my holidays) brings you yet another potato recipe – punched potatoes (batata à murro as the Portuguese call them) with bacon and a yummy yoghurt/mustard sauce. They´re super easy to make, aka perfect for the first day back from holidays when you´re in meetings back to back. Keep reading for the full recipe.
One of my favourite aspects about travelling is all the new food I get to try out. Revolutionary, I know. I´m sure many fellow bon vivants feel the same and as such I hope you´ll enjoy this new series on the blog #foodIlovedin . Through these series I´m hoping to document all the amazing food I eat in all the places I visit, and even dive a bit into the cultural and social aspect of food in said areas. We´re starting off with Amsterdam, and all the yummy food I ate there. As per usual, I went for local dishes and their stories, and kept my eyes wide open for the six days I spent in the city of over 160 canals, observing its restaurant and many brasseries (what´s with the million brasseries, Dutchies?!). Additionally to all my observations and recommendations, I´d suggest you check out Laura de Grave´s Amsterdam Cookbook – a fantastic collection of recipes as they are cooked in her favourite Amsterdam restaurants. From Pancakes from Gratine, to Oysters from Nam Kee and Advocaat from Kessens – you´ll find the most notorious dishes and where to have them as well as how to cook them yourself in her book.
I returned from Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago with the ardent conviction that I needed to once and for all learn to make a Dutch baby (the dish, not an actual tall, blonde baby). This is not because I had eaten Dutch baby pancakes in Amsterdam, but rather because I couldn´t find any there. Which comes at no surprise when you actually find out there´s nothing Dutch about Dutch baby pancakes – they´re actually American, and haven been derived from the German Pfannkuchen. The deceiving “Dutch” in their name is simply a corruption of the “Deutsch” word. Upon finding this out, I thought “you know what? if they´re not Dutch, nor entirely German, let´s bring them yet another twist and make them Mexican!”. So I adjusted the original recipe to make them less sweet and added a Mexican layer to them. They were absolutely delicious (I have made them twice so far) and so so easy to make I think I´ll be making these a Sunday regular!
As I am writing this article, I can´t quite believe tomorrow is the first of August. June and July seem to have flown by and I genuinely don´t know how. I´m behind on my reading, behind on my book club, all the while I am skeptically glancing at the book stack I plan on taking on holidays with me next week. July in particularly has been a month of little reading. The books I´ve managed to read, were all started (and two even finished) on planes and my biggest regret is that I still haven´t finished Killing Commendatore, the book for the book club that was scheduled for beginning of July, and for which I am still keeping people waiting. But while I fight with my guilty consciousness, let me tell how about the books that I did manage to read this month.