Waffle Bread

Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit, always running about and screaming “I’m late, I’m late!”. Truth is, I have great news to share very soon about what’s keeping me away from the blog. However, I didn’t want to miss May’s participation on my favourite facebook cooking challenge, “Dia 1… Na cozinha”.

Waffle Bread

A few weeks ago, I finally bought the waffle maker that had been on my wish list for so long. To prove to myself that I was not letting the gadget gather dust in some forgotten shelf, I went on a waffle binge. I tried classic waffles, oat waffles, chocolate waffles, savoury waffles, potato waffles… inevitably, I used the waffle maker for bread too. Inspired by Naan bread, traditionally made with yogurt, but using baking powder instead of yeast (i’m late, i’m late!), I created this recipe that worked a treat. It’s very very crunchy, and lots of crust, due to the waffle shape, so it should be eaten straight away. The little dimples are perfect to fill with butter, syrup, jam or any kind of sauce, and it’s so quick to prepare that it’s ideal for an emergency. Or just for someone as lazy as me, for whom thinking ahead of time is a rare occurrence.

My apologies to those without a waffle maker, but this recipe can also be used in a pan for a very nice flatbread, no excuses not to try it.

Waffle bread

(2 waffles)

  • 65g flour
  • 65g thick natural yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

Mix everything together in a bowl and knead for a few minutes.

Divide the dough into two identical balls and leave to rest for about 10 minutes.

Flatten the dough balls and shape them as rough squares. Flour them lightly so they don’t stick.

Place them in the hot waffle maker and let tem cook for a few minutes, until they are nice and golden.

Serve them warm and buttered.

Waffle Bread

Travesseiros

March went by so fast! Too many hours spent at the computer, too little hours in the kitchen, if you ask me. The blog was terribly neglectes, I’m afraid, and once again, the recipe for the facebook group I belong to got pushed to the very last minute. Again. The theme was regional sweets and the recipe I ended up choosing was a special request by my brother Miguel.

“Travesseiros” means “pillows” in portuguese, and refer to a almond and egg cream filled puff pastry rectangle. Traditionally from Sintra, a beautiful little town north of Lisbon, we often travel the distance just to taste these delicious pastries. If by “taste” you mean “devour at full speed, right out of the oven, burn your tongue, swear a little, and then repeat”. And they never taste quite the same outside of Sintra.

 

Travesseiros

The challenge was a big one, as I didn’t have the time to fine-tune it and I didn’t find a suitable recipe for them online. I didn’t think I had a chance, but I was willing to try and write about the experiment, even if it was a failed one.

There was a lot of guess work, but turns out I got lucky. When they came out of the oven, I could hardly believe it: they were pretty damn close to the original ones. Ask my brother, he’s very demanding, and thought they were spot on.

Travesseiros

Rough Puff Pastry

  • 250g plain flour
  • 250g unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125ml iced water

In a food processos fitted with a blade, add the flour, the salt and the diced butter and pulse a few times until roughly blended. You can also do it by hand, bye whatever you chose to do, don’t over process.

Add the iced water and pulse a couple more times. Pour the mix onto a floured surface and knead quickly until it forms a ball. Cover in cling filme and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Lightly flour the surface and rolling pin. Knead the pastry lightly and shape it as a rectangle. Roll it in on direction until it’s thin and roughly twice as long as it is wide. Fold down the top third and then fold up the bottom third, overlapping the three layers of pastry. Turn it 90º and roll it up again until the inicial size. Fold again in the same way, then turn, and roll again. You should fold it 4 times, in total, placing it in the fridge for a few minutes between folds if the weather is too hot.

Cut the pasty in two identical rectangles, cover in cling film and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Puff pillows (“Travesseiros”)

(8 unidades)

  • 1 recipe of rough puff pastry
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 250g sugar (plus some more to sprinkle)
  • 125ml water
  • 125g ground almonds

In a bowl, cut through the yolks with a knife.

Add the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. When it starts boiling, count 5 minutes and remove from head.

Very slowly, pour the sirup over the egg yolks, mixing carefully. Mix in the ground almonds. Pour it back in the saucepan and cook it over medium heat for another 5 minutes, mixing continuously. Remove from heat and let it cool.

Heat the oven to 200ºC.

Roll half of the pastry until about 3 or 4mm thick. Divide into 4 rectangles. Drop a spoonful of the mix in the middle of each rectangle, using only the middle third. Brush the rest of the surface with cold water. Fold the outer thirds of pastry onto the filling, without squeezing too much, to form a pillow. Press down on the sides to keep the filling in. Repeat with the other half.

Place the pillows side by side in a paper lined tray and bake for 25 minutes or until they start to golden. Sprinkle with sugar and serve still warm.

Travesseiros

Dia 1... na cozinha

Dia Um… Na Cozinha: please visit the group page on FB and checkout what everyone else cooked today.

Tarte Flambée

In 1994, I spent one month in the french region of Alsace, near the border with Germany, with a group of other young people from all over the world, invited by the Lions Clubs of France. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years already. One thing is certain, I wasn’t the same person when I returned.

CCMI94 was a month of unforgettable gastronomic and cultural adventures, but most of all, it forced me to go out of my comfort zone and learn how to manage and conceal my huge shyness and insecurity. I made loads of friends and, predictably, fell crazy in love for the first time, which was, also predictably, followed by a crushing heartbreak, but that’s a story I’ll share some other day.

Tarte Flambée

In that July, I flew on my own to Paris, where I met the whole gang — we were 40, from 25 nationalities —, and we then travelled together by bus to Strasbourg, then Metz, then Strasbourg again. We visited the European Parliament, museums, cathedrals, fortresses, farms, wine cellars, saw fireworks shows, open-air theatre, watched together the World Cup Final where Brasil beat Italy (sorry, Luisa), we had picnics, city walks, we explored the region thoroughly. In the middle of all that, two important things happened: I started to enjoy wine and pizza.

One of our first visits had been to a champagne cellar, precisely in Champagne, on our way from Paris to Strasbourg. I was still very finicky, afraid to try new things, and as dumb enough not to taste the real deal. Everybody was way “happier” on the rest of the journey, that’s all I know. Everybody but me.

However, we attended several official receptions while there, and usually, the choice of drinks was between a horrible watered-down artificial orange juice or a beautiful typical cocktail called Kir. it consists of a flute of ice-cold white wine (or champagne, if it’s a Kir Royal) with a bit of blackcurrant liqueur (Crème de Cassis) on the bottom, which made a terrific ombre effect. I think I went for the juice the first couple of times — dumb, again — but eventually I came to my senses and through Kir, I learned to like, to love, white wine.

Tarte Flambée

With pizza, the process was quite similar. Most of our meals were had in an university canteen near the Cathedral square, one of the most beautiful squares I’ve ever visited. The food was… canteen style, with an extraordinary exception. There was a fire-burning oven who turned out fantastic pizzas, right before our eyes. As soon as we got there, everybody would run for the pizza line. I was the first to get fed, though, because I went for the regular food. No line there, whatsoever. Because nobody was having it. Because it was really, really bad. Reaaaaaly bad. But I didn’t like pizza then. It had chess on it, I hated cheese, couldn’t even touch it. But day after day, that miserable sad canteen food got the best of me, and I finally got the guts to taste one of those fragrant pizzas. How worse could it be?

I was appalled to realised that pizza was actually the best thing I had ever eaten. Normal cheese: horrible. Melted cheese: wonderful and addictive! I had been fast enough to discover the wine, but it sadly took me the whole month to figure out pizza. Just in time.

Tarte Flambée

After a month living together in an university campus, most of the group returned home. Who wished so, could stay with a foster family for an extra week, which I did. On the last day, we organised a big farewell dinner in a typical Alsatian restaurant where they served up the famous Tartes Flambées, or Flammekueche, some kind of white pizza with sour cream, onion and bacon.

Instead of me taking a plane back to Lisbon, my parents had decided to come and pick me up by car, with my brother. Yes, they drove from Lisbon to Strasbourg like they were just driving round the corner to pick me up. With several touristic stops along the road trip, of course, but still, quite a stretch. They arrived to Strasbourg on that day, and joined the group on that epic last supper.

It’s been 20 years, but I remember every detail. The huge L shaped table on the restaurant patio, the sun setting very late, the great temperature of that August night,the awesome tartes flambées who disappeared as they hit the table, but kept arriving, the fresh white riesling that I kept knocking down, the excitement of being together for the last time ever, a sweet and sour mix of the joy of still being there and seeing my parents and brother after a month apart and the crushing sadness of knowing I would leave the following morning. I will also never forget the look on my parents’ faces when they saw me eat pizza and drink wine like there was no tomorrow. Who are you, and what have you done with our daughter?

Tarte Flambée

When I saw this month’s theme for  Dia um… na cozinha was pizza, it wasn’t Rome but Strasbourg that came to my mind. Tarte Flambée is not exactly pizza, but I’m sure I’ll be forgiven.

Tarte Flambée

Tarte Flambée

 

Dough (for two pies)

  • 250g flour
  • 12 g yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 125ml lukewarm water

Cobertura

  • Sour cream / crème fraiche
  • Onion, thinkly sliced
  • Bacon, cubed
  • Emmental cheese, grated (optional – the original tarte flambée original has no cheese at all, just the gratin version)

In a big bowl, crumble the yeast in the flour, using the tip of your fingers. Add the salt and the sugar.

Make a little mound with the flour mix and dig a little well in the centre. Pour the olive oil and the water into the well and start mixing with your hands until you have a smooth dough, adding extra water if needed. Knead for a few minutes more, over a floured surface, and shape it in a ball. Oil the inside of the bowl and place the dough inside, covering it with cling film. Leave to prove for at least one hour, until it doubles in size.

By the end of that time, turn on the oven at maximum temperature, with a baking tray or pizza stone inside  (it will ensure a well cooked bottom).

Punch the dough with your fists to knock the air out and divide it in two portions. Roll out one portion with a rolling pin, until it’s really thin, trying to shapen it like a square. Trim the edges if necessary.

Place the square dough on a floured parchment paper, can cover it with the sour cream, the cheese, if using, the onion and the bacon. Transfer to the really hot tray and bake it for about 10 minutes, to until the dough is golden. Cut into squares and serve.

Tarte Flambée

Dia 1... na cozinha Dia Um… Na Cozinha: não se esqueçam de visitar a página do grupo para ver todas as pizzas deliciosas que foram feitas para hoje.

Galette

Roots: destined to grow underground, mother nature didn’t pay much attention to aesthetics when she created potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and beetroots. These girls aren’t pretty, thats a fact.

Root Vegetables

However they have a good heart, and it’s a’ll that matters. We’re here to make them cute and lovely.

It’s funny how the potato ends up being the least generous of the family, as far as nutrients and vitamins go. And it ends up being the one that gets the most love and affection (at least around here). Dozens of different dishes and all amazing — I never ate a potato I didn’t like.

One of my favourite dishes is the beautiful galette (Vive la France! once more). Wafer-thin slices of potato are layered with lots of butter, salt and rosemary, soft and creamy inside, crispy on the outside. Amazing. And when you invite the rest of the root family to the table, the result is even better. All the colours and flavours can really improve on this already perfect dish.

Galette

It’s obviously a great side dish for meat or fish — oh so good with roasted chicken, believe me — but with a stretch of imagination, you can turn it into a main course. Maybe topping it with some Bolognese. Or adding some goat’s cheese, walnuts and a drizzle of honey, green salad on the side, if you’re up for a vegetarian meal. You can even make it vegan, just by replacing butter with olive oil.

Galette

Galette

Galette


Recipe

Sopa cor-de-rosa

Soup?! Again?! And on a Saturday?! I’m not going mad, I promise. Well, only slightly, as usual, but nothing to do with soup. I just joined a nice little Facebook group called “Dia um… na cozinha!”  (First day of the month… in the kitchen), and February’s theme is precisely “Vegetable soup”.

My love of pink is a childhood thing, but I did spend all my teenage years avoiding it at all costs – I couldn’t admit my favourite colour was that girly cheesy thing! Luckily, I grew up and got to that point in life where I realised I would never ever be cool. So if I wanted wear pink, nothing would stop me. So now I do. All the time. I love my baby pink all stars sneakers, and I’ve got pink t-shirts galore, pink handbags and even an awesome pink raincoat. And now, eve my soup is pink.

For this challenge, I wen’t back to my childhood to get one of the soups my parents used to cook, and gave it a pink makeover. The soup in question was an onion purée, simply made of onions and potatoes. I added some leek and half a small beetroot, for colour, but the taste remained quite like the original. I would have loved this soup as a kid. Time machine, anyone?

To make it a tad more kitsch, I decorated it with a flower of roasted beet slices and fried sage leaves. No cheese in sight, but how cheesy is that?

Beterraba

Beterraba

Beetroot is quite an ugly vegetable on the outside, but oh so beautiful inside. Raw, it has a really earthy taste, but when you cook it, that earthiness goes down a notch and is overtaken by a wonderful sweet taste. If you roast it in the oven, in very thin slices, with only a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper, it’s a fabulous snack, and goes perfectly well with this soup. There is no better match for a velvety creamy soup than something crunchy and intense. The butter fried sage leaves, that I stole from italian cuisine, are also great texture to ad.

Beterraba

Beterraba


Recipe

Baba Ganoush

My friends, something awful has happened. Because of Baba Ganoush, I will be forced to taste Queijo da Serra, Portugal’s smelliest cheese (Ewwwwwww!). I made a switch with my dad, and I got the wrong end of the stick, because Baba Ganoush is a thousand times better than Queijo da Serra. Or so I think, because I haven’t tasted said cheese yet, simply because I can’t even get close to that horrible smelly stuff. But my dad did taste Baba Ganoush, so I’ll have to keep my word. What was I thinking?

Baba Ganoush

The reason that led me to trying of make Baba Ganoush for the first time was anything but racional: I simply loved the name. Baba Ganoush seems like a cross between a Star Wars character and a Hindu god. It just can’t be short of delicious.

I was happy to find out it was some sort of Aubergine paté, because I had been thinking a lot about this strange vegetable, so beautiful on the outside and so bland and uninteresting on the inside. But I feared the result would be exactly that: blade and uninteresting. Let’s face it, it doesn’t look half as pretty as the name would suggest.

Baba Ganoush

But it’s nothing like that, it’s actually really, really, good. It seems that, after we cook the aubergine directly over the naked stove flame, totally scorching the skin, it imparts a wonderful smoked flavour. Combined with the sesame paste, the garlic and the spices, it’s out of this word! I can eat a bowl of the stuff in a blink of an eye, and that’s not even a bad thing, because it’s really healthy as well. Oh, Baba Ganoush, I love you!

Baba Ganoush

Good daughter as I am, I tried to convince my father that Baba Ganoush was the best thing ever but, for some reason, as soon as he heard the word Aubergine, he refused to believe me. And that’s when I said it, those silly stupid words. “If you try Baba Ganoush, I’ll taste whatever you want. Yes. Even Queijo da Serra.” Noooooooooooooo! What was I thinking?!

A few months went by. I tried to delay it as much as I could. But I happened to make Baba Ganoush for my birthday party (how could I not?). I happened to invite my parents (again, how could I not?) And my dad happened to taste — and like — Baba Ganoush. What didn’t happen was… he didn’t forget our silly deal. One of these days, he’ll present me with that awful awful cheese, and I’ll have to pinch my nose like a little girl and go for it. Hurts to even think about it! I’ll let you know how it went down.

For now, here’s my Baba Ganoush recipe. If you don’t want to try it… your loss. I won’t make any m0re deals!

Baba Ganoush


Recipe

Crème Brûlée

Don’t start pointing fingers, the title is not a mistake. The true crème brûlée is cooked in the oven, in a bain marie, and is a bit more solid than this microwave version. So, to avoid offending french people, who tend to be very demanding and particular with their cooking, I decided to give a different name to my speedy version. Crèmbrûlée.

The original crème brûlée is the french cousin of the portuguese custard “leite creme”, or the spanish one, “crema catalana”. The main difference is that it has double cream instead of the cornmeal thickened milk our version uses. And so, for me, they win. Vive la France!

Crème Brûlée

This crèmbrûlée ascended very quickly to the top of my favourite recipes, because I have a soft spot for easy and quick one bowl recipes with few ingredients and small portions. Specially if they are this rich. Just because we cheated on the diet for a day, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to have the refrigerator stocked with little bowls of temptation and sin for a week in a row just because we shouldn’t waste any food. Not all of us have big families to share with.

On the other hand, this double portion is still quite generous… we can always stretch it to three little bowls instead of two, and add some fresh fruit to compensate — raspberries are just perfect.

Crème Brûlée

However, I must war you: it’s indeed very easy to make, but also very easy to ruin it. A few extra seconds in the microwaves and the cream can split, destroying the wonderful silky texture. The secret lies in paying the utmost attention and never let it get too hot, reducing the microwave power if we can, and cooking in very short bursts of 10-15 seconds at a time, until it’s just creamy enough. We don’t need it to be very firm, ambition will be our downfall.

If we want to be totally safe, and we’re not in a rush, we can just cook it in a small sauce pan, over a low heat, mixing it continuously until thickened, so it doesn’t split. This way, you can even double or treble the recipe if you need it.

Crème Brûlée

And it can be eaten straight away, though I like it really cold, to contrast with the hot sugar, so I just make it ahead of time. The demerara sugar should be burnt right before serving. The sugar coat has to be crunchy and cracking, so make sure you don’t skimp on the sugar.

Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée


Recipe

Sopa de coco e abóbora

Let it be clear: for me, the best soup in the work id my grandmother’s carrot soup, which I promise to share here soon. I also insist on stating that my parent’s soups were always absolutely delicious. And still are. My soup aversion has nothing to do with the quality of the soup I had as a kid, but all to do with the fact that it was mandatory, an absurd daily imposition.

One soup in particular became my biggest nightmare: bean pureé, the most horrible substance ever created by mankind. After a couple of attempts, my parents realised it was best no to make me eat it, if they wanted to keep their sanity. But in kindergarten, where it couldn’t be avoided, it was guaranteed I’d make a scene. I still remember one day when I was kept in the canteen well beyond lunch hour, in tears, surrounded by the tyrannical lunch ladies that denied me freedom until I ate every horrible spoonful of yucky brown cold soup left in the bowl. I was 4 or 5 years old, it’s one of my oldest memories.

These silly childhood traumas are the only reason I seldom make soup at home. I know it’s good and healthy and yummy, but I’m almost never in the mood for it. And when I am, I always end up doing soups that are completely different from my childhood fare. Like this one.

Abóbora manteiga

This unconventional soup starts in an oven dish and ends up in a blender, never even making it to a pot. And though it’s a lost opportunity to use lots of different spices, I prefer the simplicity of these two main ingredients, who’s flavours combine so well and need so little help to shine through. A pinch of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon are all it takes.

Abóbora manteiga assada

Abóbora manteiga assada

Also, it’s a three-in-one kind of recipe. As soon as the butternut squash comes out of the oven, it’s a beautiful little side dish. You can sprinkle it with some goat cheese and take it back in for a few more minutes. just for a little salty touch, but that’s it.

Or you can crush it with a fork, add a bit of butter and a bit of the coconut milk, and have it replace your mashed potatoes.  Mashed squash. Squash mash. Sounds good either way…

But if you really like coconut milk, you should go all the way and make the soup. It’s rich and creamy and just wonderful. I’ve really been missing out not he soup department.

Sopa de coco e abóbora

Sopa de coco e abóbora


Recipe

Chobanofee Cheesecake

If you’re my friend, you might occasionally receive a cake for your birthday, specially if you invite me for your b’day dinner or party.

This year, I decided to add a few rules, to make this b’day cake thing less repetitive and a bit more interesting. Therefore, a) b’day boy or gal won’t have the right to pick the cake anymore, as I will be creating a totally new recipe for the occasion, b) he/she will however have the right to suggest up to 5 different ingredients, of which I will TRY to use all or most and c) he/she will have the right to give it a name. Simple, right?

Chobanofee Cheesecake

The first birthday girl to get in on the game was my friend Susana, and she didn’t quite make it easy for be, by choosing lemon, raspberry, ginger, sesame and… wasabi. Wasabi?? This will turn out to be an interesting kind of flavour puzzle. I need to do some testing with the stuff!

As her birthday was already gone anyway, I let my sis-in-law Paula go first. Her far less eccentric request required a birthday cake with banana, caramel, chocolate, lemon and any sort of cookies. That’s how the Chobanoffee was born, on the 5th December, an intense cheesecake with a chocolate cookie base, a banana and lemon filling and homemade toffee topping.

Chobanofee Cheesecake

Chobanoffee Chesecake

  • Base
  • 200g chocolate cookies
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Filling
  • 100g ripe banana
  • 200ml cream
  • 400g creamcheese (like Philadelphia)
  • 100g sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • Topping
  • 70g sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 200ml cream
  • chocolate chips (optional)

Heat the oven to 200ºC. Cover the base of a springform tin with baking paper.

Place the chocolate cookies in a plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin.

Melt the butter in a large bowl, mix in the cookie crumbs and the sugar and transfer it to the bottom of the tin.

Press the crumb mixture with the bottom of a cylindrical glass, or the back of a spoon, until you get an uniform base. Bake for 10 minutes and then let it cool outside, keeping the oven on.

Smash the banana with a fork, and add the cream cheese, sugar, cream, eggs and lemon juice. Mix all very well, until you have an even batter.

Pour it onto the cookie base. Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the temperature to 100ºC and bake for a further 10 minutes. Switch the oven off, leading the door slightly ajar, so that it cools down slowly.

Place it in the fridge for a few hours or, even better, overnight.

For the toffee topping, add the sugar to a large pan, and let it caramelise without stirring. When it starts to golden, lower the flame and add the butter, bit by bit, and then the cream, mixing slowly with a spatula. Be very careful, it will bubble and sizzle a lot.

Transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate, and pour the slightly cooled toffee over the top, spreading it nicely with a spatula. Decorate to taste with chocolate chips.

Chobanofee Cheesecake

Yesterday, I got to cook live on Curto Circuito, on SIC Radical. Cooking and chatting at the same time: not as easy as it seems.

Also, if you’ve missed it, my interview on 5 para a meia noite, RTP1. It wasn’t me doing all the cooking, this time.

Sorry, all in Portuguese, no subtitles!

Café Patita na Barata

It was a different Saturday morning at Barata bookshop. Right between the books and an Urban Sketches exhibition, crêpes were flipped in the air, filled with a yummy microwaved lemon curd and washed down with fresh fruit smoothies. There were also some other Café Patita cakes to taste. This was the first time that Café Patita’s kitchen came out, and everything went smoothly. Or almost. No crepes were stuck to the ceiling and nothing burned, but i still managed to spill a glass of smoothie. My ned book should be called “The messy cook”.

This Friday, Café Patita pops out again, at Fnac Vasco da Gama, in Lisbon, at 21h30, and this time I count on my friend Susana Romana to present the book and compete to see who can throw the crêpes higher. Everybody is invited!

This will probably be the last show cooking date in Lisbon, until Xmas. All other book signing dates in this post.

Café Patita na Barata

Café Patita na Barata

Café Patita na Barata

Café Patita na Barata

Café Patita na Barata

Café Patita na Barata

Photos: Miguel Furtado

Lançamento do Café Patita

The book launch in Lisbon was an event I’ll never forget. Again, thanks to all who were there that night and made me feel so loved.

From now until Xmas, I’ll have new chances to present Café Patita to the world. Here and there, I’ll mess up some bookshops with flour and eggs (which I pretend to call “showcooking”) , chat about food, scribble on some books and, my favourite part, share some sweet stuff straight out of the book.

I’ll be in Lisbon, Leiria, Oporto, Carcavelos and Lourinhã, and the schedule is right here, in portuguese. See you around!

Bolo de Romã e Sementes de Papoila - Café Patita

When it comes to cake pans and tins, I confess I’m having a bit of a storage problem. The cupboard I store them in, much as I wanted it to, doesn’t stretch. However, I’m just not good at resisting when I come across a pan with a different size or shape than the million ones I already own. Yesterday, I have sinned again, and brought home a small Bundt pan. Oh, the shame!

Besides the surprisingly low price,  what made me buy it was the equally small size. It’s so nice to be able to bake smaller cakes when we’re on our own. Of course baking a regular sized cake takes the same effort and wastes the same energy, but we end up with more cake than we need, and we all know where it will end up anyway, right? A smaller cake is more… diet-friendly. (This is precisely the kind of rationalisation that makes me stuff my kitchen with, well, stuff. I’m incorrigible!)

Bolo de Romã e Sementes de Papoila - Café Patita

So, i did buy the pan, and so I had a brand new excuse to bake. I also had a pomegranate looking at me from the fruit basket. Resulting in, as expected, this cake, this little cake.

Regarding said pomegranate, the flavour turns out to be quite subtle, if present. On the other hand, the recipe would work just as well with apple or orange juice. So the question begs: is it worth going through all the hassle of juicing a pomegranate? Call me futile, but I think so, if only for the gorgeous pink and pretty ruby crown. Isn’t it the cutest thing?

Bolo de Romã e Sementes de Papoila - Café Patita

Little pomegranate and poppy seed cake

One pomegranate should yield enough juice for this small cake. You can use a juicer, or do it manually, pressing the pomegranate seeds through a sieve. Just don’t forget to save some for decoration. For a regular sized cake, just double the amounts, and leave it a bit longer in the oven.

  • Cake
  • 50g softened butter
  • 125g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml pomegranate juice
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • Glaze
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds (for decoration)

Heat the oven to 180ºC.

Butter a small bundt pan.

In a bowl, mix the butter and the sugas. Beat in the egg.

Add the pomegranate juice, and mix until fully incorporated.

Add the flows, the baking powder and the poppy seeds, and fold until the mix is even.

Pour the dough into the pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Invert the cake onto a plate and remove the pan. Let it cool completely before glazing.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar and the remaining pomegranate juice. Pour it carefully onto the cake, letting it drip to the sides. Decorate with the pomegranate seeds.

Bolo de Maçã Peganhento

There’s a football match on today. The usual suspects gather at one of the usual spots, with take-away chicken, half-pints of beer and loud shouts when the ball inevitably hits the post. Just as Cristiano Ronaldo is in charge of saving the day, I’m in charge of bringing some cake. Of course.

“Cheesecake, please!”, they say. But cheesecake demands planning and my fridge is desperately low on cream cheese. And there are no biscuits in the pantry. Gosh, how did I let this happen?

Bolo de Maçã Peganhento

I’ve got some Granny Smiths, however, and a can of boiled condensed milk, and these two ingredients have been flirting with each other for ages, begging for me to put them together. When they finally meed, in a bowl, magic happens and I seriously consider stopping right here. I know that one of these days I will be serving little bowls of cubed apple smothered in dulce de leche, and everybody with think it’s genius. But not today. Today I really wanted to share a proper recipe since, because of the book, the blog has been left alone for so long. So I work little bit longer, and create a base, a cake that works as a little cozy bed for this love story.

Bolo de Maçã Peganhento

I couldn’t leave you a recipe without confirming it’s really worth repeating. The cake will therefore arrive with one less slice. Sorry guys! It’s lucky it arrives at all, actually. Is it so bad if I stay and watch the game on my own?

Bolo de Maçã Peganhento


Recipe

Café Patita - o livro

In stores today, it’s the reason why i left the blog without updates for so long: the Café Patita cookbook. It’s not a blog adaptation, it’s a totally independent book, with never published recipes, original text and photography and a good amount of illustration.

Café Patita - o livro

The launch event is next Thursday, 14th November 6.30pm, at the 5th floor of El Corte Inglés, in Lisbon. Presenting it will be my dear friend Nuno Markl, who contributed with very kind words to the book, and that will be forced to cook a recipe from the book in front of everybody — talk about friendship! There will be cake and drinks from the book. You’re all invited!

Convite para o lançamento do "Café Patita"

Order it from fnac.pt.

Caracóis de Caramelo / Caramel Snails

Here’s a quick recipe for all the people who didn’t start dieting as soon as the clock struck 12 and the year began. Or for all the people that, by the 3rd January already messed up the diet. Or for those who wisely wait until Epifany to start any resolution that envolves not eating cake..

To everybody else: please look away. Keep calm and move on. Come back later, when the diet is over. Whatever you do, don’t blame me!

Caracóis de Caramelo / Caramel Snails

This isn’t even a proper recipe. Honeslty, I should have it in some DIY section, as it only requires the careful assembly of two ingredients: puff pastry and dulce de leche. I’m a fan of doing everything fron scratch, but puff pastry and dulce de leche require enormous amounts of both time and patience, so I end up always going for the store bought version. With this recipe, you will want to make sure the puff pastry is rectangle shaped, so be ware of the rolled up round ones sold for pies.

Caracóis de Caramelo / Caramel Snails
Caracóis de Caramelo / Caramel Snails

These cute little snails are great for having friends over for a sunday afternoon snack. They are also great gifts for a friend with a sweet tooth, or that aunt you never know what to give for Christmas. Pile them up, and roll them in baking paper tied with string, and attach a nice label. They are gorgeous, delicious, and look way more complicated to do than in reality. Whoever they are for, they are the perfect bluff.

Caracóis de Caramelo / Caramel Snails
Caracóis de Caramelo / Caramel Snails  


Recipe

Crepes de Côco / Coconut crepes

Back to breakfast, then. Well, I have to confess this is not proper breakfast food but rather a dessert. That I have eaten first thing in the morning. Me and my sweet tooth.

Crepes de Côco / Coconut crepes

I stumbled upon this recipe while exploring Under the walnut tree, by Anna Bergenstrom and Fanny Bergenstrom, one of the marvellous books I ordered on my recent Amazon shopping spree. This elegant book is a real treasure of simple and well written recipes, organised around each of sixteen star ingredients. I already have it full of sticky paper bookmarks so I don’t forget which ones I want to try out. I’m not used to writing book reviews, but if I did, this one would be classified with big fat pile of stars. (There’s a great review here, though)

Under the walnut tree

As I’m totally addicted to crêpes, this was, inevitably, the first recipe out of the hat. The full on coconut flavour hits you unexpectedly, and the suggested pairing with fresh mango is spot on (though strawberries or juicy peaches would work equally well). In the absence of fresh fruit, just the sugar dusting with some drops of lemon or lime juice will be just fine.

The only things i did change in the recipe was to remove the desiccated coconut – a pet peeves of mine – and halve the recipe for convenience. It was still enough for 5 large crepes. The batter has a heavy consistence (even without the desiccated coconut) and we’re warned on the original recipe that the resulting crêpes will be slightly thicker than usual. But if, like me, you have lot’s of experience, a proper crepe pan and one of those T-shaped spreaders, you’ll be able to get them quite thin and crispy. Otherwise, they’re brilliant all the same.

Crepes de Côco / Coconut crepes


Recipe

Stuffed Italian Pepper / Pimento Italiano Recheado

I was always a bit suspicious of stuffed peppers. Those with rice or ground beef always seemed to me a bit on the heavy side. Standard bell peppers take forever in the oven to be well done and, for me, are too intense to eat raw or undercooked.

As I did with almost every vegetable (finicky child  as I was), I eventually went from 0 to 100, from hating to loving these true vitamin C bombs, specially when barbecued. Yet, when I lived in London, I stumbled upon a variety that managed to please me even more. Italian (or roman) peppers. Big and pointy as if they were giant chillies, green or red (my faves) they have a milder and sweeter taste and a thinner flesh.

Italian Pepper / Pimento Italiano

In Lisbon, they are much harder to come by, but whenever I spot them in a supermarket shelf, I make sure they come home with me. They usually end up julienned in some asian stir-fry, or grilled, in bigger pieces, as a hamburger topping or side dish.

Grilled Italian Pepper / Pimento Italiano Chamuscado

Yesterday, I knew in advance my bottom would remain stuck to the chair all day. To avoid feeling so very guilty for the lack of time to walk or go to the gym, I decided to go pretty light on the lunch, and stuff one of those beautiful peppers that had been winking at me every time I opened the fridge. No minced beef, no rice, not even couscous (which i’m doing some other day, as I’m sure it will be very nice), the day was calling for a low-carb veggie dish.

To make sure the pepper didn’t risk being undercooked, I gave it a head start by charring it directly over the stove top flame, which brought a bonus barbecue taste to the dish. (I didn’t overdo it, as you can see from the pictures, but the burned bits aren’t quite healthy, so feel free to skip this step, and then leave it for longer in the oven.)

Vegetarian Stuffed Italian Pepper / Pimento Italiano Recheado Vegetariano


Recipe