- The blog was down and I didn’t have time to fix it. Finally one morning I sat down and googled my problem. I checked the plugins, the htaccess file, php version and finally found the culprit. An index file renamed to .old . This is the post that solved my problem. Thank you themesumo!
- Little things I bought in New York: notebooks and a stamp. After a year living in the country side I really enjoyed being in a big city. I would have stayed there forever but having said that, I was happy to be back in our little piece of forest with the squirrels and the hazelnut trees.
- I make pizza every Friday night, the kids watch a movie and Nacho and I have a drink and talk in the kitchen. These are my pizza secrets:
- The type of flour. If I use pizza flour it raises better and it is softer when it cooks but if I use organic 65 flour I like the taste better.
- Raising time. At least 3 hours of raising time.
- The oven temperature. I set it as high as possible with the fan and preheat at least 15 minutes.
- I use plain tomato puree without citric acid (I never buy tomato preserves with citric acid, I really don’t like the taste), I don’t cook it, I spoon it from the jar.
- I use mozzarella and emmental cheese that I grate at home (sometimes parmesan). 70% mozzarella and 30% of the other cheeses.
- I usually don’t add anything else, sometimes olives and oregano for the kids, capers and anchovies for Nacho and me.
- I cook the pizza only with the tomato first and when it is almost done I add the cheese, this way the cheese does not burn.
This picture is really bad, it was late, but if you could smell it, only if you could smell it.
- Black cat. We have a cat, he came from the garden. We gave him food and he stayed. He is very friendly and likes to come to our bed and scare me when I am sleeping. We named him ‘Shadow’ but he ended up with ‘Rasputín’, like a black cat Nacho once had. I love the name.
- I read a few books since last post. You can check my list here, it is not 100% updated but if you are looking for something to read you can get some ideas. I bought this biography of Basquiat muse in a cool library in New York and really liked it. The book tells her love story with Basquiat, it follows a time line but the chapters can be read as short stories, they are poetic and sad. It is a book that you can read 10 minutes here or there. Basquiat was a tortured mind and she knew it. She explains some of his paintings and I don’t think any other would do it better.
When we got back from holidays this summer the fridge was empty, the kids were hungry and tired to eat out and I wanted to eat a home made meal after days of eating out. I was lucky to have chorizo and cooked beans in the pantry to make this hearty dinner that is also super quick, easy and very tasty. It was a hot 14th of August and this is a winter dish but nobody complained and there was nothing left.
Pimentón (Smoked paprika)
Drain the beans, put in a pot with a bit of water, a splash of olive oil, a dried bay leaf and chorizo cut in chunks. Let it boil for 15 minutes (or even only 5 if you are in a hurry).
This is what my grandmother did for all her pulses. She called it ‘Arrange them’.
In a small pan put olive oil and a garlic clove, fry until burnt and discard the garlic (I do it with skin and then peel it to eat it), add a spoonful of flour (I use lentil flour because I have a lot from my organic basket and I don’t know what to do with it, it works pretty well) and stir until golden. Put away from the fire, stir a bit to cool down and add a teaspoon of ‘pimentón’ (smoked paprika), you don’t want to burn the pimentón, that is why you take the pan from the fire. Add this mixture to the pot and let it boil for 5 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.
That’s it, ready to eat.
My chorizo comes from Spain, directly delivered by loving grandparents. It is chorizo without any strange ingredients or preservatives, just meat and spices. This special ingredient of family love definitely makes the dish taste better.
- Experiment fail: Fermented Beetroot: Do you remember that I was fermenting beetroot? Well, after waiting for it to bubble, and waiting and waiting, and getting tired of seeing the jar in the kitchen, I gave up and threw it away.
- Learning fail: Course on Graphic Design: When I was going to submit my first assignment I discovered that you have to pay to submit it to peer review. I was demotivated and I haven’t looked at it since.
- Journaling success: My one line diary. I don’t write everyday on it but when I have time I really enjoy it. I write nice things that happened, my mood, what I am reading, what I am working on at the moment etc. If you start one, let me know.
- Eco friendly gadget success: The metallic straws that I bought for the kids. We haven’t used plastic straws since and they wash perfectly in the dishwasher. 100% recommended,
- A door: I painted one door in the house. It looks great but at this pace I will have to paint it again before I finish the other doors…I haven’t decided about the floor yet, I would like to put parquet but with the garden and the kids it is not the best option. Anyways, I think I have at least a year to decide.
- A recipe: Chocolate Chip Muffins. They are not my favorites (I prefer recipes with butter) but my kids love them.
- A book: Mi pais inventado by Isabel Allende. About Isabel Allende’s exile and her relationship with Chile. It was just ok but at bookclub it generated interesting conversations about living in a country that is not yours.
- A song: Ibifornia. Good for background music (or when cleaning…)
I made chocolate chip muffins with Inés following this recipe from Nigella Lawson. The original recipe asks for 175g of chocolate chips. We put a bit less because, even if I had 200g, my little helper ate a lot of them. My kids love these muffins.
- Meditation. I bought the book Sitting Still Like a Frog. I plan to do it with my kids.
- Jam. I got rhubarb on the organic basket and I made jam. Delicious! But am disappointed with the vegetables, for three weeks we have been getting lettuces, ill looking carrots and potatoes…I have a contract until November…I hope it will improve the upcoming weeks.
- Holidays. We bought our tickets to New York! Happy, happy dance.
- A place. I had lunch with Nacho in Senlis at Le Comptoir Senlisien. It is a nice tea shop & restaurant. I had a ‘crème brulée’ for dessert that was very good.
- The weather. Tired of ‘la grisaille’ and the rain. I can’t wait to go to Spain and enjoy the sun. Two more weeks of school to go.
- Graphic Design. When I was in Berlin with Laura and Inés I told them that I would like to take a class on graphic design. Laura told me “then why don’t you do it?”, I told my husband and he came out with this online class on coursera and I enrolled! I starts next week but I am already watching the videos and having fun! I scanned a coffee maker 😀 I am scared of submitting the images for peer review but I am going to do it.
- Cookies. These are my favorite chocolate chip cookies because they are crunchy, filling, taste great and are easy to make. Make them and let me know.
- Burnt pie. I have always wanted to learn how to make puff pastry. I saw this recipe on the blog chocolate&zucchini (a great blog, go have a look) and I made the apple pie for Nacho’s birthday. The thing when you have kids is that it is difficult to devout your entire attention to one task and when I was broiling the tart, I burnt it in the last minute. But do you know what? We scraped the burnt top and it was delicious, so delicious that it is now my number one favorite apple pie and I will certainly make it again. Give it a try and be careful with the last step!
- A book. The glass castle. It is the memoir of an american journalist, growing up in a very dysfunctional family. It is a nice read, it is amazing how resilient children can be.
- A rose. The one and only in my garden. I am exaggerating, there is another on the way. All the rose plants I planted are dead…I am waiting for my friend Cecile to come to France and give me a quick class on gardening.
I have 3 recipes of chocolate chip cookies that I make regularly. Chewy cookies, soft cookies or crunchy cookies.
This is my crunchy recipe and by far my favorite. It comes from this blog. I make them with or without nuts, depending on what I have. I changed a bit the original recipe by replacing half of the chocolate chip cookies for dark 74% chopped chocolate and I use brown sugar if I have it. The recipe makes a lot of them but don’t worry, you will not have leftovers. Or maybe worry because you will not have leftovers…
200 g of butter
250 g of flour ( I use all purpose organic – T65)
200 g of sugar (brown sugar tastes better)
100 g of oats
100 g of chocolate chip cookies
100 g of chopped dark chocolate 74%
100 g of hazelnuts or walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (don’t skip it)
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (when I don’t have I use 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
Preheat your oven at 140
Beat butter, sugar and egg with an electric mixer
Mix the rest of the ingredients in another bowl
Mix all together using a wooden spoon
Make little balls on top of baking paper (they don’t spread much) and bake for 15-20 minutes (17 in my oven)
How do you minimize the damage on your waistline produced by this cookies? Apparently, to eat less, listen to the crunch! (o déjate de dietas y come más galletas)
- A one line a day diary. When I was in Berlin, I saw a ‘one line a day 5 year journal’ in all the bookshops. I loved the idea and made me one when I came back home. I have written on it for 2 weeks and it is fun.
- A failure. My attempt to go to bed early. I set up an alarm at 11pm and it didn’t really work. Three evenings I was out with friends when it rang, it made them laugh when I told them what it was. The other evenings I stopped it and didn’t go to sleep…I need to find another way.
- A speaker. A friend recommended me this Xiaomi speaker and it is great, inexpensive and the sound is very good. I have it in the kitchen and it keeps me company. My only complaint is that I forget that the phone is connected to it and then, in the morning, when I put something in my bedroom, it plays in the kitchen.
- The rain. It doesn’t stop, the sky is grey, it is boring and depressing. The garden is green as it can be. My roses are in a very bad state but the bad weeds are thriving! There is one in my front door getting really tall and I feel pity every time I think about cutting it.
- Motherly staff. For Mother’s Day I got three beautiful presents, one is this colorful mosaic.
And I bought at a thrift market in Berlin two small vases for the little flowers that my little ones bring to me.
- A book that I want you to read: Into the Magic Shop. The author is Dr. Doty. Neurosurgeon and founder of CCARE at Stanford. It is a book about Dr. Doty’s life and neuroplasticity ( rewiring your brain). It is inspiring and very interesting. Read it!
- A recipe: Vegetable curry. Adapted from the book Tender from Nigel Slater.
- A talk. A commencement speech from Neil Gaiman that is very motivational. Make good art.
- A craft. A photo album. I printed a year in pictures of my eldest son to offer him a photo album for his birthday. I didn’t finish it on time for his birthday but I am half way through already and he likes to come and check on the progress.
- An art exhibition. Manifesto by Julian Rosefelt at Hamburger Banhof in Berlin. It is a film installation with art manifestos from different artistic groups and time periods that have been filmed in a modern context and are performed by Cate Blanchett. The display at the museum was in a big dark room with several screens playing at the same time and I really liked the way the sounds from the different videos come together. You sit down to watch one but you are listening to all of them. You can watch an interview to the artist here. I visited the rest of the museum but manifesto was my favorite by far.
This is a recipe that uses cow cream and not coconut cream for those who don’t like coconut flavor.
It is adapted from the book Tender by Nigel Slater.
1 big onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 piece of ginger (thumb-sized)
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground chili
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
3 medium tomatoes
600 ml of water
3 medium potatoes
1 tablespoon of garam masala
6 cardamon pops
200 ml of crème fraîche
Peel and cut the onion, soften with olive oil in medium heat, slice the garlic thin and add to the onion. Cook without browning, cut the ginger into matchsticks and add to the onion and garlic.
Stir in cumin, chili and turmeric, fry for a minute. Chop and add the tomatoes and water. Add salt. Cut the potatoes and carrots in chunks and add to cook during 15 minutes. Add the zucchini.
Crack the cardamom pops, crush the seeds and toast them in a pan, put aside.
When the vegetables are cooked add the crème fraI!che and garam masala, cook for a minute.
Serve with coriander and cardamon seeds.