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AÇORDA ALENTEJANA, PORTUGUESE SOUP

AÇORDA ALENTEJANA, PORTUGUESE SOUP


AÇORDA ALENTEJANA, PORTUGUESE SOUP

AÇORDA ALENTEJANA, PORTUGUESE SOUP

So many dishes and flavors from all around the world and I haven't shared a Portuguese recipe since now!
I actually started the blog more than two years ago when I was living in Portugal and now I realized and asked myself... how come after living there for three years I haven't shared a Portuguese recipe yet!



The açorda Alentejana is a very simple, easy-to-do yet delicious soup. A humble meal that peasants used to make and have at their lunch breaks. Sometimes the success of a dish is very much in its simplicity, with only a few good basic ingredients you can get an effortless, healthy and yummy dish.
Although it is a dish typical from the region of Alentejo, you can find it everywhere in Portugal, same as the popular caldo verde.

AÇORDA ALENTEJANA, PORTUGUESE SOUP

AÇORDA ALENTEJANA, PORTUGUESE SOUP



As well as in many other Portuguese recipes, this soup is loaded with fresh cilantro. I am aware that there is a fair amount of cilantro haters, so sorry about this one, you can replace it with parsley though. I find that something very similar happens with coconut that whether you love it or hate it. Well in my particular case it is the first option and I admit I can use it with no discretion. What can I say... I love cilantro.


There are several different ways of preparing this açorda like adding cod fish and its own broth, or with clams, however this is the basic and classic one. The prep is easy as pie, the perfect quick dinner with no hassle for those days with no time to cook.

AÇORDA ALENTEJANA, PORTUGUESE SOUP


INGREDIENTS (Serves 2)


  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • A handful of fresh cilantro (or parsley)
  • 1/2 litre of water or broth
  • A few pieces of gluten free hard bread 
  • 2 organic eggs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
AÇORDA ALENTEJANA, PORTUGUESE SOUP


PREPARATION:


  1. Use a mortar and a pestle to mash the garlic with some salt and cilantro leaves (use as much as you like) until you get a paste.
  2. Drizzle some olive oil in a sauce pan, pour the garlic paste and brown at medium heat, be careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Toast the bread and place in the bowl where you will be serving the soup.
  4. Add the broth or water to the sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  5. In the meantime poach the eggs.
  6. Add the poached eggs to the bowls with the bread, then add the broth over it. And that's it, enjoy!
AÇORDA ALENTEJANA, PORTUGUESE SOUP

AÇORDA ALENTEJANA, PORTUGUESE SOUP

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SPICED PUMPKIN PIE (GF, LF, VEG)

SPICED PUMPKIN PIE (GF, LF, VEG)


SPICED PUMPKIN PIE

SPICED PUMPKIN PIE

SPICED PUMPKIN PIE


Today we celebrate Halloween, also known as Saints'Eve. According to its etymology and historic writings, the name comes from the abbreviation of All-Hallows'-Eve.

It is believed that the provenance of this millennial festivity originated from the Celtic festival of Samhain. On the night of the 31st of October the end of summer and harvesting period was celebrated to start the darker season. Druids would make fires to keep the bad spirits away and some other rituals would be carried in order to help the deceased reach the other side. 
Later on, these pagan festivities would be Christianized and some of the practises would be prohibited. The 1st of November would become All Saints'Day


In the XVIII century many Irish immigrated to North America and spread their culture and some traditions like vegetable carvings such as pumpkins during the fall season. They would empty them and place a candle inside inspired by the legend of Jack-'O-lantern.
So a mix of all the story and traditions makes what Halloween is for us nowadays, with its sweet treats, pumpkins, spooky costumes and parties...

SPICED PUMPKIN PIE

SPICED PUMPKIN PIE


The pumpkin pie was one of those traditional dishes that were always present at home since I was a child and I was excited about sharing this version of the recipe.

So we'll make a homemade pumpkin purée that is quite easy and useful for many other recipes such as muffins, cakes, pumpkin spice lattes... The filling looks this dark after baking due to the coconut sugar caramelizing along with all the spices. I like to taste the flavour of them so I use a mix of 7 spices. If you like it smoother you just need to reduce the amount or take some of them out.
After many unsuccessful tests with the pie crust, I decided to make a version of a Thermomix gluten free recipe and the result is quite good

As you see this yummy spiced pumpkin pie is 100% homemade, gluten and dairy free, and vegan. It is rich and creamy and super tasty.

SPICED PUMPKIN PIE

SPICED PUMPKIN PIE



SPICED PUMPKIN PIE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For a 28cm pie mold)


For the crust:


  • 250 gr. gluten free flour mix (I used Proceli's brand)
  • 100 gr. vegan coconut butter, at room temperature
  • 100 gr. water
  • 1 tsp. gluten free baking powder 
  • 1 pinch of pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 pinch non refined brown sugar 
For the filling:
  • 3 cups/750ml pumpkin purée (I used 1 and 1/2 butternut squashes)
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch  
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/3 cup rice or almond milk
  • Ground spices: 1/2 tsp. cardamom; 1/2 Tbsp. nutmeg; 1 Tbsp. cinnamon; 4 grounded cloves; 1/2 tsp. star anise; 1/2 Tbsp. ginger and a pinch of Jamaican pepper.
SPICED PUMPKIN PIE


METHOD:

  1. First we make the pumpkin purée. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
  2. Cut the pumpkin lenghtwise, cut the ends and discard them. Remove the seeds and strands. Pinch with a fork both in the skin and pulp.
  3. Place in an oven train upside down. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until completely cooked and soft. We make the crust in the meantime.
  4. Pour in the Thermomix or processor in the following order: flour + butter + water + baking powder + salt + sugar. If you are using the Thermomix blend for 13 seconds at 6-7 intensity. Remove and make a big ball with the dough, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for 10 minutes. 
  5. While it sets you can make the pumpkin purée. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and low the temperature to 180ºC. Remove all the pulp and throw the skin away. Mash it with a blender and when cooled down pour over a nylon bag or clean cloth on top of a strainer and a bowl to allow the water excess strain. 
  6. Pour the purée in a bowl and add the maple syrup, the spices, coconut oil, salt, sugar, and dilute the corn starch with the milk, then add to the rest and stir well with a whisk.
  7. Take the pie dough from the fridge and place some plastic wrap under and over it and start rolling with a rolling pin until you can cover the whole mold and the edges, making sure it is not too thick. You can use the remaining dough to garnish.
  8. Moisten the sides with water so the crust sticks properly. Pinch the base with a fork, brush with some milk and put in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. 
  9. Once the time is over remove from the oven and pour the pumpkin filling uniformly. You can use the remaining dough to garnish as you wish. Brush with some milk so it gets golden when baked.
  10. Place in the oven and cook for 45-50 minutes. The middle of the pie must be cooked when you take it out, you can check this with a toothpick. It will set completely when cooled down.
  11. Wait around 30 minutes before you serve it. You can keep it in the fridge and then warm every slice in the microwave for a minute, or warm up the whole pie in the oven at medium temperature.
SPICED PUMPKIN PIE

SPICED PUMPKIN PIE

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OATS, MACADAMIA AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES (GF, LF, VGT)

OATS, MACADAMIA AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES (GF, LF, VGT)



OATS, MACADAMIA AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES (GF, LF, VGT)



Autumn means shorter chilly days, warm drinks, a cozy blanket, a good book or movie and a relentlessly oven working. This time of the year my oven is exploited to the limit, all kind of baking happens almost every day... roasted veggies, cakes, muffins... and a very long etc...


That time when the stuff is baking and emanates that smell around the house...is priceless. Making cookies is easy, quick, rewarding and really worthwhile.


You can make so many flavour combinations and give them the texture you prefer. I've made them a few times with different baking times and the cooking directions are approximately as follows;
10-12 minutes > chewy-soft 
12-15 min > semi soft
15- 20 min > crumbly 
20 min > crispy

OATS, MACADAMIA AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES (GF, LF, VGT)

OATS, MACADAMIA AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES (GF, LF, VGT)


With these quantities you'll have around 10 to 13 cookies depending on how big you want them. If you want more, just double the ingredients amount.
Regarding the temperature it is true that every oven is different, as cookies don't need much baking time, just a few minutes can make a whole difference so it is best to monitor the process so they don't get burned or overcooked. We have to consider that when we take them out of the oven they still continue cooking a bit until they cool down, that's why it's recommended to use a cooling rack. 

These oats, macadamia and chocolate cookies are gluten and lactose free and if you want to make them vegan you just need to replace the chocolate chips for dairy free chocolate chunks or cacao nibs.


They are so yummy, you start with one but you don't know when you will stop... So enough talking, here's the recipe...


OATS, MACADAMIA AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES (GF, LF, VGT)

OATS, MACADAMIA AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES (GF, LF, VGT)


OATS, MACADAMIA AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 10 to 13 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oat flakes
  • 1/3 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds + 4 Tbsp. water, soaked a few minutes 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or muscovado 
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, at room temperature (semi-soft)
  • 1/3 cup tahini or sesame paste
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla paste
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, or chocolate chunks or cacao nibs
  • 1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

OATS, MACADAMIA AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES (GF, LF, VGT)


ELABORATION:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. In a bowl mix: coconut oil + tahini + sugar + vanilla + soaked flax seeds, stir well with a whisk. 
  3. Add the baking soda + salt + flour + oat flakes + macadamias + chocolate and mix it all until incorporated. 
  4. Place some baking paper over an oven tray. Use a table spoon to scoop the dough and form them with your hands.
  5. Place them in the tray leaving some space between them and intercalating so they don't stick to each other when they get bigger while baking.
  6. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes (less if you want them softer)
  7. Remove from the oven and place in the cooling rack.
  8. Enjoy with a homemade vegetable drink or a nice coffee or tea :)

OATS, MACADAMIA AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES (GF, LF, VGT)

OATS, MACADAMIA AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES (GF, LF, VGT)

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CHICKEN STEW IN COCOTTE WITH CHESTNUTS, PRUNES AND ALMONDS

CHICKEN STEW IN COCOTTE WITH CHESTNUTS, PRUNES AND ALMONDS


CHICKEN STEW IN COCOTTE WITH CHESTNUTS, PRUNES AND ALMONDS

CHICKEN STEW IN COCOTTE WITH CHESTNUTS, PRUNES AND ALMONDS


If you are a passionate cook or a cookware fan you probably already are familiarized with what a cocotte is. However if that's not the case you as some people that have already asked me might be wondering... coco what??
Well then, a cocotte is a cooking pot with french origins that is usually made of clay or cast iron. They are commonly used for stews, soups and all kind of slow cooking recipes.
It distributes the heat uniformly and concentrates the flavors in a very special manner, besides keeping the temperature for a long time after cooking. You can even put them in the oven so that makes them even more useful. They are extremely robust which makes them one of those utensils for a lifetime. 


If you also are a "slow food" lover this is a must in your kitchen. It definately is one of the best gifts I've had and I love to cook with.

SPICES

CHICKEN STEW IN COCOTTE WITH CHESTNUTS, PRUNES AND ALMONDS



This chicken stew is really easy to make, it is full of taste and autumnal scents. The spice blend, the chestnuts...it all makes a flavourful, warm comforting dish.

You can serve it with a simple rice, quinoa, or like I made this time, a coliflower couscous. If you would like to make it here's a recipe of the blog, however I prepared it just with some olive oil and salt, since the recipe already has so much flavour.


I used a spice blend from Morocco called "35 épices", as it says, it contains 35 spices. It is quite similar to Ras El Hanout so you can use that one or make your own spice blend mixing cumin, cloves, paprika, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon... and all the spices you want. 

I actually added some more to make it more intense and fragrant

CAULIFLOWER COUSCOUS

CHICKEN STEW IN COCOTTE WITH CHESTNUTS, PRUNES AND ALMONDS



CHICKEN STEW WITH CHESTNUTS, PRUNES AND ALMONDS



INGREDIENTS: (Serves 2)

  • 4 bone and skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • 14 chestnuts, cooked or baked, skinless 
  • 15 prunes (dry plums)
  • 30 almonds 
  • 1 Tbsp. of "35 épices" or Ras el Hanout or your spice blend
  • Turmeric powder
  • 5 cloves
  • Black pepper 
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 1 star anise  
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Himalayan pink salt 
  • Water

CHICKEN STEW IN COCOTTE WITH CHESTNUTS, PRUNES AND ALMONDS

CHICKEN STEW IN COCOTTE WITH CHESTNUTS, PRUNES AND ALMONDS


METHOD:
  1. In a cocotte or deep pot, set to medium-high heat and toast the cinnamon, cloves and anise a bit. Then drizzle some olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until golden. 
  2. Brown the chicken. Add the chestnuts, prunes and almonds and the spice blend. Cover with water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. 
  3. Cook for 5 minutes and then low to medium-low heat and live simmering with the lid on for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Once cooked, add more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Remove from heat and leave resting with the lid on until you serve it.
CLOVES

CHICKEN STEW IN COCOTTE WITH CHESTNUTS, PRUNES AND ALMONDS

STAR ANISE


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BEETROOT, APPLE AND POMEGRANATE SMOOTHIE

BEETROOT, APPLE AND POMEGRANATE SMOOTHIE


BEETROOT, APPLE AND POMEGRANATE SMOOTHIE


It's been quite a while since the last time I posted a smoothie, right? Now it's apple and pomegranate season it's the perfect timing to make this super easy, delicious and nutritious recipe.   

And if you are one of those who struggle to eat your fruits throughout the day, smoothies are your best allies. I think is the perfect way to start up your day after having a glass with warm water and lemon. 
With this smoothie you'll get a great amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber in just a few sips.


BEETROOT, APPLE AND POMEGRANATE SMOOTHIE


Beetroots contain a high amount of iron therefore it is recommended in cases of anemia. It is also good for urinary infections  and has detoxifying properties for the liver, kidneys and bowel.
Pomegranates have a massive antioxidant power, it is anti-inflammatory and prevents fluid retention. And apples... what can I say about apples... "One apple a day keeps the doctor away" it already says a lot... It is obviously not miraculous but it has a lot of benefits since it is diuretic, it helps digestion and regulates the intestine transit both in cases of constipation and diarrhea, it has a satiating effect and a long etcetera...


In order to have a really smooth drink I prefer making the pomegranate juice in advance and strain it to remove the seeds. 
Regarding the apples I always try using them organic so I don't have to peel them to make sure they won't have any wax, pesticides and other toxics.

Looks so fancy with that amazing colour, doesn't it?! Here goes the recipe... ;)


BEETROOT, APPLE AND POMEGRANATE SMOOTHIE



BEETROOT, APPLE AND POMEGRANATE SMOOTHIE


INGREDIENTS: (Makes 3-4 smoothies)


  • 1 beetroot, cooked and peeled  
  • 2 pomegranates
  • 5 red apples, hearts removed  
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Fresh water
BEETROOT, APPLE AND POMEGRANATE SMOOTHIE



PREPARATION
  1. Make the pomegranate juice. I use the blender to do it and then drain it. Clean the mixer and then pour the juice.
  2. Add the beetroot, apple, lemon juice, grate the ginger, and fresh water depending on how thick you want it. I start with a little and add more gradually. 
  3. Blend at high speed until you achieve a creamy, lump-free texture, adding more water to get the thickness you like and ready to drink!

BEETROOT, APPLE AND POMEGRANATE SMOOTHIE

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