Perhaps one of my most prized family possessions is this old cooking book which 40 years ago must have been present in every single Romanian household – Silvia Jurcovan´s Carte de Bucate. It was initially my grandma´s, then my mom´s and when I turned 27 my mom gave it to me. Inside its yellow pages, I found more yellow pages, with short and simple dessert recipes, hand written by my grandma and collected from her various friends and relative. That gave me the idea to make my grandma this month´s honorary #guestchef. In her honour I made a simple strawberry cake and improved on it with a cocoa cream and some decorative strawberries. It is so simple to make, tasted deliciously and looked so great, my grandma would have surely loved it. I hope you do too.
I know what you´re thinking – what an odd name for a recipe. How can eggs look like dumplings and what does avo toast have to do with them? Well originally, this was of cooking eggs was supposed to yield us poached eggs. But I realised that if I let them cook just a little bit longer, and get the yolk hard boiled, the egg white ends up looking like a dumpling and it all looks gorgeous on an avocado toast, making an epic brunch menu. So this #homemadeMonday I´ll be showing you how to make eggs that look like dumplings and put them on an avo toast, with a hollandaise topping and sprinkled with chilli flakes.
If you´ve been paying attention on my Instagram this weekend, you surely saw the world´s most beautiful mushrooms – pleurotus djamor. I found them at the farmer´s market on Saturday and was drawn to them like to a beautiful pair of shoes or book. The farmer selling them admitted they didn´t taste any differently than regular pleurotus mushrooms and I suspect they were more expensive (I chose not to check haha), but they looked so beautiful on my plate I regret nothing. I pondered a lot what to do with them and ended up giving an Asia egg noodle soup a try. It ended up pretty yummy, and this #homemadeMonday you´ll be getting the recipe of how I´d do it even yummier. So keep reading.
You know those recipes you return to over and over again? This is one of those. I initially started making penne all´arrabbiata after Jamie Oliver´s recipe, but as per usual we started adapting it to our liking. An Italian might even be outraged to hear we added corn to it! But after regularly making this again and again, on a weekly basis, and it becoming André´s favourite dish, I thought it was time to share it on a #homemadeMonday. Hubby insisted I call it penne alla traviata, instead of all´arrabbiata, as the original Roman dish goes. So here you go. You ca thank me later.
Continuing #seafoodapril with another super simple and extremely yummy recipe – clams à bulhão pato. Named after bon vivant poet Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato, this way of cooking clams is extremely easy and no matter how complicated cooking clams might sound, you simply cannot mess it up. Important things to keep in mind for this recipe: use good quality butter and white wine, and if possible fresh coriander and lemon. Without further ado, here comes a most anticipated #homemadeMonday recipe.
I´ve been thinking long and hard about what to call this recipe. You see, originally we started cooking mussels a la Vila Franca do Campo – aka the Açorean way. But as time went by, we kept tweaking the recipe and the current state of it is a bit far from its origins in method, albeit just as, or dare I say even more? – delicious. So I´m gonna call it “our special mussel recipe”, and proceed to sharing our secrets for this #homemadeMonday on what has become after your votes – #seafoodapril.
Every time we buy an octopus to cook, it feels like we´re going to feast on it for a full week. And while I had no problem with eating french fries every day for a month when I was little, nowadays I get a bit bored of repeating a meal too many days in a row. So I kept some tentacles from last week´s octopus and instead of reheating them, I repurposed them for a typical Portuguese octopus salad. The octopus salad is possibly one of my favourite ways of eating octopus as it is fresh and a perfect blend of flavours drowned in olive oil. I used octopus that we had boiled and even cooked in the oven previously, so please keep that in mind if you trey to reproduce this week´s #homemadeMonday. Also, considering this is an appetiser, the picture here has about two portions of the salad in it so keep that in mind when planning.
I remember the first bite André took out of the first couscous salad I ever made. I looked at him longing, and asked nervously: “So, do you like it? Shall I do it again?”. André took another bite and timidly said “Yeah… I mean you can keep doing these healthy dishes and I´ll do the ones we actually love, like fajitas and stuff”. I´m laughing now, but I was pretty upset then. And yet, I repeated the couscous and it rapidly became André´s favourite dish of mine. Growing confident, one day I thought I´d use the bulgur wheat tabouleh we´ve had in our drawer for a year and make a dish out of it. I looked for some inspiration online, and decided upon a tabouleh with chickpeas, cucumber, feta cheese and mint. I altered the recipe, as I usually do, and what came out was a delicious mediterranean-like salad that André actually liked, had it not been for the za´atar, a spice he doesn´t fancy as it turns out. So for this #homemadeMonday, I present to you a great recipe for when you want a light dish to detox after the winter holidays, or one to take to the beach with you on hot summer days.
For the first few years of having had shakshukas, I had not the slightest intention in changing anything about this most perfect dish. That is, until I once found myself with some leek in the fridge and had no clue what to do with it. A spark of inspiration made me wonder if I couldn´t turn it into – why not? – “a shakshuka”. A green one, to be precise. So I threw in some baby spinach, a bit too much smoked paprika and came up with my first semi-green shakshuka (the smoked paprika made it kind of brownish instead). I tested and tried the recipe a couple of times, so that I could bring it to you this #homemadeMonday in all its green glory.
I know what you must be thinking – not another banana bread, hasn´t this pandemic had enough of them? I realise I´m a bit late to the game and you might not want to read yet another banana bread recipe, but I absolutely swear by my friend Hollie´s being the best one you´ll every try. Even Nonna, my adoptive grandma, who does not like bananas at all, absolutely loved it. It has just the right intensity of banana flavour and the perfect degree of softness and moisture. So let this #guestchefseries guide you through the perfect banana bread recipe.