Food, Recipes

BREAD – easy and delicious

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Homemade bread. I love it so much.

Bread is wonderful as it is and I don’t know if there’s anything better than freshly baked bread with butter. This recipe is super simple and I’m sure you will easily succeed. Originally this recipe is from here but I’ve changed it a bit.

Bread

  • 5 dl of water (500ml)
  • 2 bags of dry yeast (14g)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • 13 dl of flour (about 850g)
  • ½ dl of olive oil (50ml)

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First mix together all the dry ingredients: dry yeast, sugar and salt with 1 cup of flour.

Then, you need to heat up your water, in most recipes they say that the water should be hand warm but that’s not accurate. To make the dough rise properly the water should be a bit hot. Hot in a way that you can still put your hand in and it won’t burn you or “kill” the yeast but you don’t want to leave your hand in either. 😀 Proceed to put in your dry ingredient mixture, start mixing with a spoon and adding flour. Then add some olive oil and continue mixing with your hand, be sure to add small amounts of flour while mixing.

Your dough is ready when it looks like on the right side, it should take around 5 to 10 minutes. It’s important that you mix the dough well. Leave the dough to rise for 40 minutes. I always leave the dough to rise inside the microwave (remind people around you to not turn it on). 😉

After 40 minutes, take the dough out and knead it well. I’d recommend to punch the dough violently to get a better consistency (it’s also a perfect way to release stress).

When the dough is not that sticky anymore you can form pieces of bread. Leave them rise at least 15 minutes under a cloth, the longer the time the bigger they become but I would recommend not to leave them more than 45 minutes rising. Then put them in the oven for 15 min in 225°C.

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Your bread is ready!

Enjoy the bread with butter or whatever you like. I’d recommend you to make molletes, they are delicious!!

– Eeva –

 

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Food, Mexican food, Recipes

ENCHILADAS

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“Enchiladas”, they are so tasty! Years ago I didn’t know much about REAL Mexican food, I had a vague idea of what “enchiladas” were, mainly through Tex-Mex food in Finnish restaurants. Also, I didn’t know many types of tortillas existed. I thought that the only type of “Tortillas” that you could get were big wheat tortillas from the supermarket (the terrible Old El Paso brand is a good example) and I didn’t know that corn tortillas existed. Another shameful confession is that I thought tortillas and tacos were the same thing! 😀

There are many other things that I didn’t know about Mexico but let’s focus on these amazing authentic “enchiladas”.

INGREDIENTS

  • Authentic Corn Tortillas (if you know any Mexican people it’s a good idea to ask them where they buy their tortillas)

For the chicken

  • 500 grams of chicken breast
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 cubes of chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A hint of olive oil

For the “Salsa Verde”

  • 32 whole “Tomatillos” they can either be fresh or from a can. (we used La Costeña brand)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 10 chiles anchos (you can also use jalapenos or serranos)
  • Maggi seasoning sauce to taste (optional)
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

+ cheese, avocado and creme fraiche (you can also add raw onion and coriander as a topping if desired)

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I recommend to start off with the chicken. Pour five cups of water in a pot and add the broth, chicken, onion and garlic cloves, set the burner to maximum heat. Once it boils bring the heat down to medium and continue boiling for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is boiling prepare the “salsa verde”. Put the chiles, onion and garlic on a pan and grill over medium heat, chiles are usually done pretty quickly so remove them after a minute or so, it’s important that they don’t get burnt. The onion and the garlic should be left until charred (partially burned).

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Put the garlic, onion and chiles in the blender.

We used whole canned “Tomatillos” so there was no need to grill them, however, if you get fresh ones remove the outer coating, wash thoroughly and grill them along with the other ingredients. Another thing worth mentioning is that if you don’t tolerate spicy food you should only add one or two chiles, the ten chiles that we added gave it moderately spicy taste.

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Put one cube of broth in the blender with the other ingredients.

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Blend everything and your salsa is almost ready.

Put some oil in the pot, heat it up for 5 minutes at medium heat and pour your salsa in. Boil it 10 to 15 minutes or until you obtain a thicker consistency.

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We used corn tortillas from a shop called “La Reina de las Tortillas” here in Barcelona. It’s very important that you use authentic corn tortillas for the “enchiladas”.

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Fry the tortillas on a pan from both sides. If you see some bubbles popping up on your tortilla, like in the picture above, it’s ready to be flipped.  Try to fry each side for 45 seconds at most.

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Put the fried tortillas on paper towels in order to dry them.

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Shred the boiled chicken with two forks as above.

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Put some chicken on the fried tortilla.

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Fold the tortillas as in the picture above.

Put some cheese on “enchiladas” and add the hot “salsa verde” on top of the cheese so that the cheese melts.

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Finally put some avocado and creme fraiche on top and your delicious “enchiladas” are ready to be eaten!

These “enchiladas” are amazing! I love “salsa verde” so for me all the Mexican food that includes “salsa verde” makes me cry. I remember the first time I tried “salsa verde” on “chilaquiles” and I couldn’t believe what I was tasting. This recipe is very traditional and I’m sure everybody will love it! I’m still amazed every time I eat it. 🙂

– Eeva –

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Barbecue, Barcelona, Food

BARBECUE

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I have to admit that I had never been that into barbecues until I met my Mexican friends. I can count with one hand how many times I’ve been grilling food in Finland. Usually we just walk into woods and heat sausages on a campfire. Mexicans (or at least the ones I know :D) are professionals when it comes to barbecues. An interesting mix of meat, onions, sausages and more importantly “salsas” were the key to success. Also the beautiful weather we had added an extra flavorful touch to our already amazing food!

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Our friend’s rooftop is barbecue heaven! Last time we visited him, it was raining a lot and we were only able to dream about sunny days and barbecues. I’m really glad he invited us and we were able to make our plan true. The day was perfect and it really felt that Spring was here! The past few weeks have been rainy and grey so last Saturday was a real reminder that Summer is coming. I didn’t realise until I moved here how much the weather actually influences my mood. The sun gives you so much energy and I couldn’t stop smiling!

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Before you put the food on the grill you can clean it with onion and olive oil.

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Grilled onions need only some lime and red “salsa” and they’re ready to be eaten!

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Jay the Englishman enjoying onions with red salsa.

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Jay’s rooftop is massive!

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I was a bit sceptical when Rafa said that we were going to make tacos with chistorra (spanish sausage similar to chorizo) and cheese. I couldn’t believe that you didn’t need more ingredients. Like I mentioned before the trick with Mexican food is the “salsa” you put on your taco. In my head I always imagined Mexican food being complicated but in the end the important thing is to combine ingredients wisely and make the “salsas”.

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“Pico de Gallo” on top and your taco is ready! You can find the “Pico de Gallo” recipe here. Simple and super tasty.

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We also prepared some burgers. They were super good! I added some red “salsa” to give my burger a nice spicy touch.

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Finally the sun came down and we continued our evening indoors. I moved to Barcelona over 1 and half years ago and I still feel that there is a crazy amount of things to see and do. Jay moved here recently so it’s refreshing to listen to him because I can relate to those feelings that I experienced when I had just moved here. His roommate actually summed up what Barcelona life is like: every weekend in Barcelona is equivalent to a holiday. It’s crazy, but true! I feel that you have so many things to do and time just flies so you are in this constant battle with time. Especially when Summer comes, you basically just go home to sleep and the rest of the time you spend outside. I’m really looking forward to it but I’m also glad that life is not an endless Summer. 😀

– Eeva –

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Barcelona, Food, Restaurant

CASA LÓPEZ

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If you are travelling to Barcelona or you live in Barcelona and you haven’t visited Casa López, you have to go there as soon as you can. I have to thank our friend Roger again for showing us this wonderful restaurant. Casa López is a perfect name for this place, since the interior reminds me of someone’s house. After discovering this place, we have been there many times and it has always been great! I’ve always wanted to find our own “go to”- bar and we finally have it!

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As you can see above, they have several different “Tapas” on the menu. Prices are decent and well, the quality is great! They also have sandwiches but we still haven’t tried them. One day we will!

If you like cheese I recommend you to try this “Tabla Queso Curado”. That cheese has a lot of flavor without being too strong and the size of the plate is proper. It’s a perfect starter and I recommend you to try it with “Tapa de Fuet”. “Fuet” is a Catalan sausage and this particular one in Casa López is just perfect! It is cut into nice, thin slices which won’t stay long on the plate as soon as everyone has a taste of it.

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We also ordered “Tortilla de Patata” which is a Spanish omelette. I would say that the best ones I have tried so far have been in Casa López and in Pinosa. The problem with “Tortilla de patata” is usually that it’s overcooked and dry. This one is nicely cooked, soft and tasty. My favorite dish in Casa López is “Chocos”. They are basically small calamari and they are super delicious! Usually when we have tried calamari they haven’t had that much flavor BUT these are definitely the exception, they’re the best ones I have tried so far. They have a lot of flavor, they are not oily and they are perfectly fried.

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Above you can see classic “Croquetas de Jamon Iberico” and a big “Bomba de carne”. Bomba is a fried ball of potato and meat with sauce on top. In Finland we have this dish called “lihaperunasoselaatikko” and I would say that this is only a fatter and tastier version of that. So far this has been the best “bomba” I have tried in Barcelona.

The potatoes above are the “all-i-oli” version, they are really good but in my opinion the spicy “Patatas Bravas” are a bit better. If you like garlic, I recommend you to try the ones above. I like both sauces a lot and my inner potatolover approves the flavor of the potatoes. They are soft and nicely roasted! We also tried the meatballs which are really juicy and tender, they are cooked in a tomato sauce with peas and mushrooms which is perfect for dipping some bread into! The combination is wonderful and it’s hard to tell which exact flavor makes them so tasty.

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We finished everything!!

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Digestivos, amazing as always! This one is Orujo de Hierbas.

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As you can see I’m the biggest fan of Casa López and the only thing left to say is: “just go there!”. The only “bad” thing is that it’s usually full and maybe you have to wait for a table a bit, but I think that is always the case what comes to good restaurants. I’d recommend to arrive at around 7 pm in order to not spend time waiting for a table, they also open during midday but I’ve only been there for dinner so I’m not sure about the situation at that time.

Another great thing is that it’s located in Gracia and that is my favorite area in Barcelona. I can’t wait for Spring to come and have a cold drink under the sun at Placa del Sol (a nearby square) after eating in Casa López. 😀

Casa López

Carrer del Topazi 11,

08012,

Barcelona

– Eeva –

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Food, Mexican food, Recipes

MOLLETES

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For my second Mexican food post I’ve decided to share a more simple recipe. Not all Mexican dishes take as much time and effort to make as “Tamales”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here: TAMALES. All the top chefs started from the bottom, so did we! 😀

This recipe is good for beginners, since it’s relatively simple to make. “Molletes” are a very common Mexican breakfast. To get the best result I think it’s important to have fresh bread and “pico de gallo” (traditional Mexican salsa).

INGREDIENTS (for 10 medium “Molletes”)

For the beans

  • 1 jar (400 grams) of precookd red beans
  • 1/4 of a small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 pinch of oregano
  • Maggi seasoning sauce to taste (optional)
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

For the “pico de gallo”

  • 4 medium tomatoes (you can also use cherry tomatoes)
  • coriander
  • 3 chiles (fresh serrano / jalapeno or dried chile de arbol)
  • 1/4 onion
  • 2 limes
  • pepper to taste
  • salt to taste

+ fresh bread, preferably ciabatta or baguette (ideally you need a “bolillo” but I think you can only get it in Mexico)

+ cheese (edam, gouda, mozzarella or oaxaca)

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My own freshly baked bread (recipe coming soon).

First you need to wash your precooked beans really well, be sure not to use raw beans because otherwise they will take forever to prepare. Next, put some oil in a pot and add your chopped onion and garlic, once they are golden brown add your beans, water, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Then, after it boils, switch to medium heat and let them boil until 1/2 of the liquid has consumed. Finally mash your beans with a hand blender (you can also do it by hand).

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Chop the onion and let it rest in a bowl with water for 45 minutes. This takes away the strong flavor of the onion.

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Strain the onion.

Chop the tomatoes, chiles and coriander and mix them. If you are not used to eating spicy food don’t add that many chiles. Add one first and then try it out.

Add the onion, squeeze the lime and mix.

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Your “pico de gallo” is ready!

Now we are going to put together the “Molletes”. Cut your bread in half, spread some beans on your bread and then cover with cheese, once you’ve assembled all your “Molletes” put them in the oven until the cheese has melted and it’s golden brown. Finally put the “pico de gallo” on top and your “Molletes” are ready to be served!

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This is a very simple and nice recipe and even though it’s a breakfast dish you can eat it any time of the day. This is one of my favourite Mexican dishes since I love “pico de gallo” and I adore CHEESE. The combination of a fresh “salsa” with something that just came out of the oven is very rich and flavorful. I highly recommend you to give it a try! 🙂

– Eeva –

 

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Food, Mexican food, Recipes

TAMALES

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On January 5th we got together and baked a “Rosca de Reyes”. It’s a huge round cake made out of soft, white dough and decorated with various things. In Finland we have a very similar version called “pullapitko”. Then, on January 6th, we celebrated “Dia de Reyes”, on this day people traditionally invite their friends and family (or whoever you like) to eat the “Rosca”. The trick is that you hide little figurines, which are supposed to resemble Baby Jesus, inside the “Rosca” and the person who finds them has to prepare “Tamales” on the 2nd of February. The superstitious believe that these figurines will bring you luck if you find them, which I hope it’s true because me and my boyfriend found ALL of them. So it was obvious that we had to prepare “Tamales” for everyone.

Mexicans eat “Tamales” during the whole year and it’s a very typical Mexican dish, especially for breakfast. You can prepare them in many ways but the typical ones are “mole” and “salsa verde”. “Tamales” are definitely not fast food and it takes quite a while to prepare them but it’s definitely worth it. The best way to prepare “Tamales” is to invite your friends over and prepare it together while listening to some good tracks. 🙂

INGREDIENTS (for 20 medium sized “Tamales”)

For the chicken

  • 500 grams of chicken breast
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 cubes of chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A hint of olive oil

For the “Salsa Verde”

  • 32 whole “Tomatillos” they can either be fresh or from a can. (we used La Costeña brand)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 10 chiles anchos (you can also use jalapenos or serranos)
  • Maggi seasoning sauce to taste (optional)
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the “Mole”

  • 1 jar of Dona Maria Mole Original (Mole paste)
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (approximately)

For the dough

  • 600 grams of “Masa nixtamalizada” or Maseca flour
  • 125 grams of lard (pig fat)
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 teaspoons of salt

+ corn husks to wrap the “Tamales”

For the beans (side dish)

  • 1 jar (400 grams) of precooked red beans
  • 1/4 of a small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 pinch of oregano
  • Maggi seasoning sauce to taste (optional)
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

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We’ll start off with the chicken, pour five cups of water in a pot and add the broth, chicken, onion and garlic cloves, set the burner to maximum heat. Once it boils bring the heat down to medium and continue boiling for 30 minutes.

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While the chicken is boiling prepare the “salsa verde”. Put the chiles, onion and garlic on a pan and grill over medium heat, chiles are usually done pretty quickly so remove them after a minute or so, it’s important that they don’t get burnt. The onion and the garlic should be left until charred (partially burned).

We used whole canned “Tomatillos” so there was no need to grill them, however, if you get fresh ones remove the outer coating, wash thoroughly and grill them along with the other ingredients. Another thing worth mentioning is that if you don’t tolerate spicy food you should only add one or two chiles, the ten chiles that we added gave it moderately spicy taste.

Proceed to put everything in a blender along with the cube of vegetable broth, a hint of Maggi sauce, salt and pepper (to taste). BOOM your salsa is ready!

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By this point your chicken is probably ready, so now you need to shred it using two forks as you can see in the picture above. Save the broth you cooked the chicken in.

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In order to speed up the whole process you can start rinsing the corn husks (these take around 15 to 20 minutes to be ready), it is necessary to leave them in a pot with water so that they are soft enough for the creation of the “Tamales”.

This was the easiest part. Since “Mole” is very difficult to make from scratch, we bought this mole paste and dissolved the whole jar with around 2 to 3 cups of the chicken broth we had left. Make sure that the consistency of the “Mole” is similar to Nutella except not as sticky.

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This is the “Masa nixtamalizada” it is very important that you get this type of dough or Maseca corn flour for the “Tamales” because otherwise you won’t get to taste the authentic flavors (and probably the “Tamales” will be ruined!).

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Slowly add 3/4 of a cup of water to your “masa” or Maseca corn flour until you get a soft consistency, if necessary add more water but make sure that the mixture is not too watery.

Use an electric mixer to beat the lard until it looks like the picture above. It must not be too liquid but also not very thick. This took around 15 minutes set to maximum power.

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Now you can add the “masa”, two teaspoons of baking powder and salt to the lard. If you are using a mixer like the one we used, proceed to beat everything for 45 minutes. If you have a more powerful one it might take around 30 minutes. Our mixer was heating up constantly so be careful not to wreck your equipment. 😀

You will know the dough is ready once you place a small chunk of it in a glass with water and it floats.

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Once your corn husks are soft take them out of the water and separate them. You are finally ready to assemble your “Tamales”!

Fill the corn husks just like the pictures above and after you have closed the “Tamal” grab the top of the husk with both of your hands using your thumb and your index fingers, then pull down with one hand while you hold the top with your other hand to make the inside a bit tighter.

Finally fold the top under the “Tamal” so that it’s nicely sealed. You can see in the second picture above how the “Tamal” on the right side is properly closed. If the husk is too small or you have trouble closing it you can use two husks so that the filling stays inside the “Tamal”. We were making two “Salsa verde tamales” per each “Mole tamal” since in general people love them more but make them any way you like. 😀

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We put in these coins in order to know if there is water left in the pot. If the coins make a lot of noise it means that you have to add more water. This is an old school Mexican trick. 😉

Ideally you have to place the “Tamales” vertically so that they cook in a more effective way but we didn’t have that much space in this pot so a larger pot is recommended. In our case we had to steam the “Tamales” for 1 hour 30 minutes in order to get the perfect consistency.

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MMMM…. Tamales….

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While your delicious “Tamales” are cooking you can make “Frijoles” as a side dish, these are traditional Mexican beans (people in Mexico eat them with almost everything). First you need to wash your precooked beans really well, be sure not to use raw beans because otherwise they will take forever to prepare. Next, put some oil in a pot and add your chopped onion and garlic, once they are golden brown add your beans, water, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Then, after it boils, switch to medium heat and let them boil until 1/2 of the liquid has consumed.

At that point you can mash your beans or use the hand blender if you are feeling kind of lazy after all this work (we were already a bit tired). 😀

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Taking the “Tamales” out of the pot.

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Time to enjoy!

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The “Tamales” were amazing. It was a lot of fun to cook them but also hard work. We had the pleasure of sharing the “Tamales” with an international group of people and it was nice to see that everybody loved them. Special thanks to Fercho and Rafael for making this possible. 🙂

So if you want to challenge yourself in the kitchen, impress someone with your cooking skills AND enjoy an exotic meal, “Tamales” are the perfect choice for you. Also it’s nice to get together, cook and try something new with your friends or family. The only problem we had was that we should’ve cooked more since they were so successful!

I’ve included below the original recipe that helped us through this whole process (video in Spanish).

– Eeva –

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Food, Restaurant

PINOSA

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Pinosa is an amazing restaurant. Our friend Roger is from Andorra and he told us that they have the best tapas in the city and we had to try them. I have to say that after eating there I can totally agree with him and I’m forever thankful that he showed us this beautiful place. If you ever travel to Andorra, I highly recommend you to eat there!

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When we arrived to the restaurant I didn’t know what to expect. Pinosa is a restaurant that is cozy, warm and has few tables. The atmosphere is relaxed, similar to someone’s living room. Roger had reserved a table in advance and I recommend you to do that if you come with a big group of people. We got a nice round table which made the dinner comfortable and enjoyable.

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The bread you see above is the classic “Pa amb tomàquet”, which is considered Catalan cuisine’s most recognisable dish. Just thinking about that bread makes me so hungry! I know bread itself can sometimes be a bit boring and it’s usually there as an extra but this bread is a completely different experience. This “pan con tomate” was the best I have ever tried. I didn’t know that bread with tomato, salt and olive oil could taste so good.

We got some Iberic ham and cheese with the bread and the combination was wonderful. The ham was nicely cut and it just melted in your mouth. The cheese was super tasty and worked perfectly together with the bread. I was surprised about the size of the cheese plate. Usually when you order cheese you get few thin slices and it’s super expensive. That cheese plate was nothing like a regular cheese plate from your typical tapas place.

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The owner of the restaurant recommended this “Marques de Terán” wine. I’m not a wine expert but the wines from Rioja have usually been good and this particular red wine was very good. I wish I could tell you more about its flavors but I’ll leave it to the experts. As a reference, we drank the whole bottle. 😉

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Since Andorra is not located near the ocean, it’s not a place you would expect to eat good seafood. However, this Galician style octopus (pulpo a la Gallega) was surprisingly good. I would definitely eat it again. It was perfectly cooked.

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Ricardo and Fernando (the Mexicans) enjoying tapas.

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Can we talk a little bit about that “tortilla de patata”? I completed el Camino de Santiago in October 2016, it involved waking up at six in the morning, walking around 20 km per day and eating one small “tortilla de patata” almost every afternoon. “Tortilla de patata” is a Spanish potato omelette which is probably the most common dish served in Spain. It seems like it’s easy to cook since it’s basically just eggs and potatoes but it’s not. During the month I was walking to Santiago I tried several omelettes but this one was in a whole new level. It was nicely cooked and full of flavor. The “Croquetas” were also very good. They weren’t oily at all and a joy to chew on.

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By the end of the night we ordered a “digestivo” and we got this bottle of Orujo. It is commonly believed that a shot of this liquor will help you digest the insane amount of food you’ve just eaten. I don’t know if it helped me that much because I couldn’t walk normally after that dinner, I could hardly breathe, but in a good way. 😀

Overall, all I want to say is that if you ever visit Andorra, go to Pinosa. In the end we each paid around 24 euros with two (or maybe three) drinks included. Taking into account the amount of food and the quality, I believe the price was completely fair. Service was good and since the restaurant is not that big the atmosphere was fun and intimate.

Restaurant La Pinosa

11 C Carrer de La Unio,

Andorra la Vella AD500,

Andorra

– Eeva –

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