sábado, 25 de julho de 2015

For Life

I like to think that somethings in life happen for a reason. Back in 2006, a short time after I moved to my current house, I was about to change schools. My neighbourhood was a familiar typical one and there was some new kids I didn't know. That was the summer I met some of the best friends I have to date and I know they're always going to stay with me no matter where life leads us. 
One of those friends ended up being in my class in my new school. And in the english classes we would take after school. And just like that we would become inseparable until today! 
We were a group of 3, sometimes 4 or 5 and since that summer we would spend night and day (literally!) in each other's houses. I have the best memories of all the rides home from school, the water balloon fights, the birthday parties and all the crazy stuff we would do together! I wish those times would last forever! Ha!
But we still have each other and we still make some memories. In one of these days me and R. went to my grandparent's home (it wasn't her first time and she's like family to all of us) where we prepared a little picnic and off we went to a relaxed but fun day in this natural beauty called Poço Azul. 

And I know life awaits us! Together! Forever!

sexta-feira, 24 de julho de 2015

Morning At The Farmers' Market

My hometown helds a farmers' market every day of the week, except on Sundays. I love mornings and I obviously love saturdays, so saturday morning is probably my favourite time of the week. 
I wake up slowly, have breakfast and go out for a coffee. Meanwhile I get the newspaper and plan my lunch according to what I get from the farmers' market. Sometimes I go just to take some pictures and to see what's in season (plus all those colours!) but I can't resist and I never leave empty-handed. 
This time I got some local grown peaches and fresh tomatoes for salad! Both delicious! 

terça-feira, 21 de julho de 2015

At The Farm

Another thing I would  do very regularly when I was little was going to my grandparent's farm, which isn't very far from home. This part I wasn't very keen on, though. I used to go there so often I got tired and bored, mainly because I didn't have any cousins to play with at the time (i'm the second oldest)! But now that I've grown I miss coming to the farm more often, because I only come on holidays and it's very rare to visit on weekends.

Anyway, those times were some quite good ones, when I used to run free, swim with my sister and grandparents and collect the warm eggs freshly laied by the chickens, which I still love to do. Today it has another meaning, somethings are different but the essence is the same and I feel lighter and relaxed here.
My grandparents have some people that take care of most of the land but they actually enjoy doing something around here and I love to learn some more with them. And to me there is something quite magical getting to see all these veggies and fruit growing, plus you always know where the stuff you're eating comes from!

domingo, 19 de julho de 2015

In The Kitchen #5

Summer is not my favourite season of the year. I like Spring and Fall because they're mild and gentle and also because I belive they have the best of both worlds. Usualy during those seasons is when I feel most inspired. Maybe bacause of all the changing. 

On the other hand I have to give some credit to summertime. People are happier, the colours are vibrant, the days are longer and the variety of activities is just endless. In one of these days I got to spend sometime with friends at the pool and we were asked to bring a little something for an afternoon snack. As if I needed any excuse to bake some more these days...

I wish I would grow all these summer fruits I love. Raspberries, peaches, cherries, blueberries and so on, but at least I have my own organic strawberries and that is quite something to me! ;) Once I don't do that, I have a friend that does and she kindly brought me some raspberries the other day. I guess there was no other option rather than use them in these vanilla muffins! And they were a hit! 

The recipe is quite simple and I honestly can't recall where I got it from. I have this one for many years now and it ends up being my first choice everytime I am in a rush and only have a few basic ingredients at home and also don't want to take a risk doing something I haven't tried before. Another good thing about it is that this is such a simple recipe that you can add anything you want or make as many alterations as you like. You can never go wrong with this one!

Easy peasy vanilla muffins:

makes 12:
150 grams of melted butter
150 grams of caster sugar
175 grams of self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 tea spoon of vanilla extract 

Just mix all the ingredients together. Fill the muffin cases  (or a greased muffin tray)  with the batter (next I added the raspberries) and bake it in a preheated oven at 180ºC/350ºF for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean. 

As simple as it gets! ;)

sexta-feira, 17 de julho de 2015

In The Kitchen #4

And the sweet tooth strikes again!
But this time I have a good excuse! A friend organised a barbecue at her house and the girls had to bring a dessert. I was in charge of cheesecake but I didn't have all the ingredients at home and was running out of time. I love to sort something out with just a few basic ingredients. And that's how this brownies made their appearence in a super fun girls night! 
So basically I ran to the Internet and made a quick search for brownies' recipes. This time Nigella wasn't appealing enough and I ended up making the recipe from this book with a few adaptations. I must say I have never felt secure folowing recipes I haven't tried before but lately I've been feeling super confident and so far they have all turned out just fine! 

Thank you Mafalda for having us! We are always up for a remake! 

quinta-feira, 16 de julho de 2015

Out And About #1

Don't know if I ever told you how lucky I am for living in such a beautiful country! 
I was born in a small city of Portugal but one thing I really appreciate and thank to my parents is that before getting to know the world I should know my own country first! When I was little we would often go on trips all around the country whether it would be on holidays or just on weekends.

Lately I've been thinking how Portugal really is a great country to live in. The weather is great, our food is actually quite good and balanced and the lanscapes - oh boy, the landscapes! - we have some of the best views! 

As I grew older these family programmes slowed down a bit but I will always cherish those memories. 
This past weekend we got to do a little escapade near my hometown though. Went out for lunch and visited an old convent that is now an hotel and then explored the surroundings! Just take a look and let the beauty speak for itself!

segunda-feira, 13 de julho de 2015

In The Kitchen #3

I decided to take a break on the sweets (though I can almost bet it won't last) and this time I made pizza!  
I definitly am a pizza lover, I have no doubts about that and it is kind of a goal of mine to make a really good pizza myself. 

For a long time I've tried over and over again. I tested so many pizza doughs in the past,  I can't even remeber them all, but none (absolutly none, zero!) of them worked out for me, for many reasons. They either would taste raw or the dough would be impossible to stretch. And I could keep adding.
So, I am still on the pursuit of the perfect pizza dough. Actually, Jamie Oliver has quite a few that I wrote down and are still waiting for me to test them. But I kind of gave up for a while as I couldn't bare any more decepcions (or you can just call me lazy). ;) 

This time, I bought some bread dough before cooked in a local bakery and brought it home, stretched it, added the toopings and into the oven it goes! A few mistakes on me though. I should have used less dough or stretched it more because the edges cooked faster than the center (obviously) or, if unlike me you like you pizza crust quite thick it is a good idea to bake the dough for a bit before adding the toppings. 

It all turned out well. Even if not perfect it was good enough to motivate me to repeat it sometime and improve what wasn't so good at this once. 

sábado, 11 de julho de 2015

My Toughts On Brunch

Ok, I'll admit it: all the times I had brunch was at home and never out. I've organised a little (not so little) breakfast with friends for more than once. The last one turned out to be a really late breakfast, ending up being more of a brunch really.

I've actually gone to many places that serve brunches with the intention to have one for several times. But, for many reasons I always end up having just a humble breakfast. There is something I don't like about brunch, really. 
First, I wake up way too early - Why, God, why? - to have a meal that would simultaneously feed me for breakfast and lunch, so it doesn't make sense to me eating that much just for breakfast so early in the morning when eventualy I'll end up hungry to have lunch as well, even if it is just a little after my regular lunch time. Second, in Lisbon most places, all of them I would dare to say, only serve brunch on weekends. And guess what? Most weekends I am not in Lisbon or don't feel like tackle myself up just to go out for brunch. Plus, I think brunch is so much more than just a meal, most of all, it is gathering and sharing and, for me, it only makes sense if you are going with someone who you can spend some time with, talking, laughing, and of course, sharing all that food. 

Some photos of this last Monday brunch at home, with the girls. Also, it feels good to catch up when you live in 3 different cities, because you know, a girl needs to get all the gossip actualised for once in a while. ;)

quarta-feira, 8 de julho de 2015

In The Kitchen #2

All right, there is something wrong going on in my house. 
I'm spending way too much time in the kitchen. Since I've come home I'm kind of the boss in the kitchen. I'm in charge of most meals, because maybe I am a little bit paranoid about my meal's schedule and also because I like it (and of course, my parents don't mind having someone cooking for them). On the other hand I just hate doing the dishes (bah), so I guess it's fair.  

But, apart from that, I've been trying new recipes, mostly cookies and other super-hiper-sugary stuff (my inner fat kid). My kitchen gods are both british, actually. Jamie Oliver tops them all, and he's followed by Nigella Lawson. 

In one of the last posts, I've talked about Nigella's Butter Cookies. But then I went a little further and tried her Chocolate Chip Cookies. I am not the biggest fan of this kind of cookies. I love some plain shortbread biscuits, mostly when they are harder rather than crumblier and chewier. But since I had never found a really good chocolate cookie recipe I decided to give it a go. And so I did. I really liked the final result, probably the best ones I've done so far. Still, shortbread wins my heart. You can find the recipe here, though I didn't add so many chocolate chips and I found the dough a little bit too sweet as well, so next time I'll definitly cut down on sugar. 

domingo, 5 de julho de 2015

Touristing a Bit

Best ice cream ever!!

My exams are over until next year (literally, until January 2016) so I wanted to spend a few days in Lisbon before I would go home for my summer holidays. And momma joined me for an extra fun weekend. 

In one of these days we went to Belém and had some Pastéis de Belém, walked by the river and wandered in the gardens nearby. We spent an afternoon at the beach as well, which felt good after so much walking in the past few days. Plus, the weather was just perfect and water warm enough. I actually don't remeber the last I dived and swam so much in the sea. I felt like a little fish! Sometimes I think I am the luckiest for being born in a country with such an amazing weather and this incredible coast.

I also am the luckiest for living in a central place in Lisbon. My house isn't far from my favourite places, such as Jardim da Estrela and Príncipe Real. In between those is São Bento, most know for the Parliament, but with a hidden treasure: Nannarella! Seriously, I am not a big fan of ice cream but I went nuts with this one! And this was the best night in the city with mom, I really felt like a tourist, having ice cream for dinner in such a beautiful and warm night.

Besides, I can easily walk to Gulbenkian, a museum with a big garden where me and mom spent a calm morning in the shadow, after having breakfast out. One thing I really like about my mom is that she's willing to go out for breakfast and lunch almost anytime, trying new places, even if she ends up not liking them all. But all in all I guess that now she knows and she can express an opinion herself. 

We did go to some of the more turistic places too, like Mercado da Ribeira, Chiado or Cais das Colunas. I guess there is no way you can avoid it once you're downtown because after all those are some pretty cool places, even if they're crowded.