Blame it on the arriving of spring and the romanticism that comes with it, but the month of March always makes me want to go back to the classics. And since I had taken advantage of the Christmas sales and bought plenty of them, I picked up a couple, let you also vote for one additional one to read with me for the digital book club, and here we are. I will not be covering Jane Eyre, which I am still reading for the interactive book club discussion mid April, but instead will sum up the other three classics I read in this beautiful month of March.
Romanesco broccoli – a veggie so perfect, it will make you believe in divinity. Alright, that might be an overstatement, but seriously – have you ever seen a more perfect vegetable than this one? You can read more about this miracle broccoli here , but here are some main things you should know, before I tell you how I cooked it for this #homemadeMonday.
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.
My friend Florent is possible the biggest cheese lover you´ll ever meet. And yes, you guessed it, he is French. In the years we´ve been friends he´s taught me plenty about all kinds of French cheeses and how to best pair them with all sorts of French wine. But by far his best culinary contribution to my world was the day he made a tartiflette for the #guestchefseries. This #homemadeMonday you´ll finally get access to this most infamous dish. The tartiflette dish is from the Savoy area of the French alps and dates all the way back to the beginning of the 1700s, when it was first mentioned in a cook book. The centre element of the dish is the potato, along with the reblochon cheese. But while delicious, it´s a rather heavy dish. Which is why it´s so popular in ski resorts, where it warms people´s hearts and bellies. So if you want to go for it, make sure you have a day of laying down ahead of you, and a good white wine to pair it with.
A fancy sounding title for a recipe that is actually super easy to make and extremely fast to eat. And while miso is not available at every supermarket, once you do find a box, you´ll want to use it over and over again. This #homemadeMonday I will walk you through an ingenious way of preparing salmon, tuna or pretty much any fish really. We´ll coat it in a honey, miso, lemon and olive oil sauce and bake it in the oven along with some potato wedges. And it will take us less than 30 minutes. My secret: frozen potato wedges from a bag. Let´s go.
On the last Sunday of February, at 5pm Lisbon time, I logged into a video call, joined by four of my friends to run my first digital book club and discuss Tara Westover´s memoir – Education. I had announced the interactive book club edition on Instagram and though more people signed up (I kept the limit at ten), we ended up being just five – and this turned out to be the perfect number so that everyone would be heard and voice their opinions. The conversation flowed for almost two hours, moderated by me and supported by some questions I prepared before hand, and so I thought I´d share them here, along with my review of the book, as I left it out of last month´s book club review article.
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.
February is Black History Month in the US and Canada and so I chose for this month´s #bookclub three colourful books by Black and coloured authors, telling stories of identity, heritage, belonging and one´s roots. Noah´s autobiography follows his South African upbringing as a coloured person, while Wayétu Moore´s fictional story accompanies three Africans reuniting from different parts of the world in what will one day be Liberia. Bernardine Evaristo traces the story of twelve black women in Britain. And despite two out of three being fiction writings, I found all three books highly educational, touching in their own way and essential to anyone seeking to become an ally and educate themselves on this matter.
PS: I am still finishing a fourth book of this month, but since it will be the topic for this Sunday´s digital book club conversation, I am not adding it here, and instead reserving it for a future article perhaps.
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.
Living in Portugal with easy access to great seafood really makes me realise I have no excuse for not adding more seafood recipes on here. The truth is, I let the Portuguese boyfriend do most of the seafood (and red meat, and fish) cooking and so I don´t always put those recipes on here. So this time I decide to at least photograph and film him as he made a delicious seafood pasta recipe for this week´s #homemadeMonday.