What do you do when you repeatedly find yourself in a city you hate? And moreover, when that city is the capital of the country you were born in? And your friends are divided about it as well – some love it and some hate it? I tried answering that question during my last two trips to Bucharest this summer. I met with people that see beauty in the city, I revisited the few places I loved and explored some new ones that took me by utter surprise. And I ended up fancying a city I had hated for over two decades. Here are the spots that made me change my mind.
After about a year of waiting in my pantry, the can of lentils I had stored away finally met its purpose in a delicious lentil, avocado and cress salad. It´s essentially this green salad but since I don´t like arugula, it´s with cress. On top of that I replaced the sunflower seeds with sesame seeds and topped it off with some vinaigrette sauce which I felt went wonderfully with it. Whether you prefer the above version or mine, I do hope you try one of them, they´re truly scrumptious.
In my efforts to cook as little as possible during the week (at least for breakfast and lunch), I came up with these fluffy breakfast egg muffins and I have to say I am really proud of myself. They´re super easy to make, require few ingredients and give you the opportunity to rescue any soon overdue produce from your fridge. Aaaaand they´ll be the solution for your breakfasts from Monday to Friday! Now you can literally use any veggies and meats you want for them, I´ll just give you the ingredients I used last time, but please, be creative!
When you´re not great at baking, you gotta get creative. So you grab a jam (I chose apricot) from the adorable care package @dealurileUilei sent you, find yourself the easiest cake base recipe (inspired by Anca Cheregi´s cheesecake) and you end up with an apricot jam and cream cheese cake ready in no time, and devoured in even less time (what´s less than no time?). Curious? Keep reading this week´s #homemadeMonday.
In our house I am a self proclaimed master of weird, yet always yummy risottos. The first one I´ve ever done was a green risotto with mashed avocado and smoked salmon and it absolutely killed. Next I ventured into more simple mushrooms risottos, then went exotic for a colourful risotto with octopus, and as the cold season came my mother in law taught me how to do a pumpkin risotto, and one of my favourite Italian restaurants near my house inspired me to make a drunken pear risotto, which is a fantastic Christmas meal idea! As for this #homemadeMonday, I thought of showing you all how to make a curry risotto with chicken breast, apples and walnuts. It´ll warm your rainy autumn days right up, trust me.
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.