Monday, 27 August 2012

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sunday Special

Photo by Inspire me
méditations à la saison des figues 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Langourous Summer days…


Summer in Portugal is often a synonym for long, hot summer days… magnificent light and sun shining.  In this way, a nice, celebratory lunch for these beautiful days is imperative.
Some days ago my inspiration was the spectacular Brazilian dish (from São Salvador da Bahia) “Bobó de Camarão”.
This is a traditional dish from the African-Bahian communities, having at its core ingredients manioc, coconut milk, dênde palm oil and fresh, fat and exciting shrimps.
The word bobó comes to Brazil from the language of the Ewe people (current-day Ghana, Togo and Benin) and who were brought to Brazil as slaves during the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade headed, for centuries, by the Portuguese.  
“Bobó” is actually a manioc cream or puree, which can have a consistency of a soup or thicker and velvety (as I prefer).

Bobó de Camarão

So this is the perfect recipe for a fantastic “Bobó de Camarão”
(Serves 8 – courtesy of http://flavorsofbrazil.blogspot.pt)


For the cream:

1 kg cooking onions, peeled and chopped
1 kg firm, ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
4 Tbsp finely coriander, finely chopped
1 kgs manioc peeled, boiled and mashed
2 cups (500 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (1 liter) coconut milk

Shrimps:

4 kgs medium or large shrimp, peeled, deheaded and deveined, with tails left on
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp coriander, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 medium onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (1 liter)coconut milk
2 Tbsp dendê oil

Steps:

Prepare the manioc cream:  In a large heavy saucepan, combine the onion, tomatoes, green pepper and coriander with the mashed manioc. Stir in the olive oil and coconut milk, then heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the cream begins to pull away from the bottom of the pan when you stir. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Prepare the shrimps: Rinse the shrimps well in plenty of cold running water. Drain. In a large, deep saucepan combine the drained shrimps, chopped garlic, salt, coriander, tomatoes, onions, green pepper and the olive oil. Heat over medium high heat, stirring frequently. When hot, add the coconut milk in 1/2 cup amounts, stirring after each addition to completely mix. Continue to cook for 5 minutes more, stirring constantly.
Add the reserved manioc puree to the shrimps and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Just before removing from the heat, add the dendê oil and mix it in completely. Remove from heat, pour into a decorative deep serving platter, sprinkle with additional coriander if desired and serve with rice and some nice green salad.



It´s a bit of hard work, I may say, but the final result is just fantastic and just what you need to satisfy all your senses in a langourous summer afternoon.


Brazilian "Capirinha"

After that just have a refreshing “Caipirinha” and take your time…
Photo by Angelica Maricotti


Monday, 20 August 2012

In need of energy?

I am probably one of the few people in this world who doesn´t appreciate coffee at all. Not as a drink, nor tiramisú, nor coffee beef stew, nothing...
However, whenever I find myself with tons of work to do and papers to write and in need of an energy boost, I like to prepare something not only  absolutely simple, but also very tasty and healthy, that I sure most of you have already heard of.
It is called Macaccino (a name borrowed from its Italian "grandfather" capuccino) and is a drink which combines two amazing ingredients: maca root powder and raw cacao powder.

Maca  is a plant native to the high Andes of Peru and Bolivia which is used as a root vegetable and a medicinal herb. It is a nutritionally dense super-food that contains high amounts of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and all of the essential amino acids and unlike coffee, offers energy in a non-caffeinated way that supports the body.

On the other hand, the raw cacao powder is naturally derived from  the seeds from the beans of an Amazonian fruit tree.
It is known for being a source of beta-carotene, amino acids (protein), Omega-3 EFAs, calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, and one of the best food sources of muscle relaxing, stress relieving magnesium.
An historical parenthesis: It´s known that the Mayan and Aztec kings drank pure chocolate drinks everyday to maintain their vigour and the civilizations of Mesoamerica valued the bean so highly that it was used as currency.



Mayan Cacao God. Ek Chuah surrounded by cacao beans

So here is a very simple recipe for an energizing Macaccino

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon of maca powder
1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder
2 tablespoons of xylitol
250 ml of milk (I prefer rice milk, but you can use any kind: soya, almond, cow milk)
Some sprinkles of cinnamon (if you please)

Basic steps:

1- Warm the milk (if you prefer, but it will definitely help to dissolve all these powders)
2- Put all of these ingredients in a blender cup
3- Add the milk and blend it very well till it creates that nice foam on the surface


To garnish it I used some really nice sesame biscuits my parents brought me from Konya, but you can also use grated chocolate instead.


Mixture of powders and sesame cubes


sesame cookies garnishing

As I drink I always like to have some chunks of dark chocolate cookies which are just divine for me.



So simple and absolutely healthy!

I hope you like it


_________________

Sou provavelmente uma das poucas pessoas no mundo que não gosta de café. Não gosto enquanto bebida, não gosto de tiramisú, ou mesmo de um bife "à café", não gosto nada...

Porém, quando me encontro com imenso trabalho, ou artigos para escrever, e preciso de um estimulante ou energético, tenho por hábito preparar uma bebida não só simples, como saborosa e bastante saudável, que tenho a certeza que conhecem.
Chama-se "Macaccino" (um nome emprestado do seu "avô" italiano capuccino), sendo uma bebida que combina dois ingredientes fantásticos:  raíz de maca e cacau crú.

A maca é uma planta nativa dos Andes (Perú e Bolívia) cuja raíz é utilizada como vegetal e como planta medicinal. É hoje considerada um "super-alimento" contendo grandes quantidades de minerais, vitaminas, enzimas e amino ácidos essenciais que, ao contrário do café, oferecem energia sem os efeitos da cafeina.
Por outro lado, o cacau crú provem das sementes dos grãos de cacau de uma árvore da Amazónia.
É conhecido por ser uma fonte de betacaroteno, proteína, omega-3,cálcio, zinco, potássio e uma das maiores fontes de magnésio responsável pelo relaxamento muscular.

Um parêntesis histórico: os reis maias e aztecas costumavam ingerir doses diárias de cacau puro para manter a energia e vigor e, para as civilizações da Mesoamerica, o cacau era tão valioso que era utlizado como um luxuoso produto de troca nas suas transações comerciais.



Eis esta receita verdadeiramente simples para um energético Macaccino

Ingredientes:
1 colher de chá de pó de maca
1 colher de sopa de pó de cacau crú
2 colheres de sopa de xilitol
250 ml de leite (eu prefiro leite de arroz, mas pode ser de soja, amêndoa ou mesmo de vaca)
Alguns salpicos de canela a gosto

Preparação:

1- Aquecer ou amornar o leite (este processo ajuda a dissolver correctamente todos os pós)
2- Colocar todos os ingredientes num copo misturador
3- Juntar o leite e ligar o misturador ou usar a varinha mágica até criar uma espuma suave na superfície



Para guarnecer usei uns deliciosos biscoitos de sésamo que os meus pais me trouxeram de Konya, mas pode ser utilizado chocolate ralado ou em pepitas.

Enquanto bebo, gosto de acompanhar com bolachas integrais de chocolate negro, que considero divinais!

Tão simples e absolutamente saudável!
Espero que gostem.








Thursday, 16 August 2012

to start with

Livre du roi Modus et de la reine Ratio, 14th century. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Département des manuscrits, Français 22545 fol.72
 If there`s something that is absolutely transcontextual between diverse cultures is the fascination and the care for food as well as the (conscious or unconscious) development of different cooking traditions as part as their own cultural heritage. Since man started to benefit from a richer and more substantial diet, food has been seen not only as an essential good or an infinite source of pleasure, but also as a symbol of hierarchy and status. Back in the classical and medieval periods, the distinctions between different social groups could be defined by their meals, revealing the role that food played in their relationships to power. It was while dining that important decisions were taken and many celebrations were held… Nevertheless, the act of eating was always a special event. From the courtly banquet to the modest fare of peasantry, eating was an occasion for bringing people together. Even the mere pictorial representation of food was meant to seduce our senses and to show off the qualities of a fine and wealthy house. The still life paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries are a perfect example. Generous dishes of food, fruits and game were meticulously displayed as a mirror of abundance and richness. These paintings about food were themselves impressive objects of high intrinsic worth. But after all, what makes food such a sensuous and desired subject beyond the sphere of taste? What has made it so inspiring for writers, mystics or even visual artists over time, and therefore such an irresistible focus of attraction for all our senses? All of these questions and ideas could be perfectly rhetorical… 


Still life with fruit, Antonio de Pereda, 1650, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon 

All we can say is that somehow our drive for food is so much more that just a basic natural need… It´s a reflection of our yearning for satisfaction, beauty and comfort… feelings that were and will always be shared amongst men, no matter what their culture or beliefs.

_______________

Se existe algo absolutamente transcontextual  é, decerto, o fascínio e a atenção para com a alimentação, bem como o desenvolvimento (consciente ou inconsciente) de tradições culinárias distintas, entendidas mesmo como parte de nossa própria herança cultural.
Desde que o homem começou a beneficiar de uma dieta mais rica e substancial, o alimento tem sido visto não apenas como um bem essencial (ou uma fonte infinita de prazer), mas também como um símbolo de hierarquia e status social. Nos períodos Clássico e Medieval, as distinções entre os diferentes grupos poderiam ser definidas pela qualidade das suas refeições, revelando, assim, o papel preponderante dos alimentos nas suas relações de poder. No entanto, o acto de comer sempre foi um evento especial. Do banquete palaciano ao repasto modesto dos camponeses, comer era uma ocasião para a reunião.
Até mesmo a representação pictórica dos alimentos foi feita para seduzir os nossos sentidos e para mostrar as qualidades de uma casa abastada. As Naturezas-mortas dos séculos XVII e XVIII são um exemplo perfeito. Pratos generosos de alimentos, frutas e caça eram meticulosamente apresentado como um espelho de abundância e riqueza. Estas pinturas sobre comida eram elas mesmas objectos impressionantes de valor intrínseco elevado.
 Mas afinal, o que torna a comida um tema tão sensual e desejado para além da esfera do paladar? O que o tornou tão inspirador para escritores, místicos ou mesmo artistas visuais, ao longo do tempo, e um foco irresistível de atracção para todos os nossos sentidos? Todas essas questões e ideias poderiam ser perfeitamente retóricas ... Tudo o que podemos dizer é que de alguma forma a nossa relação com a gastronomia é muito mais que apenas uma necessidade básica e natural ... É um reflexo do nosso desejo de beleza, satisfação e conforto ... sentimentos que foram e sempre serão compartilhados entre os homens, não importa o que sua cultura ou crenças.