domingo, 5 de janeiro de 2014

New Year to The Missing Flavor

Near two years ago, all of sudden, I stopped writing posts to this blog. So many things stopped me from writing, all sorts of things, but now I see me here, coming back after all.

I am very glad to be here, right back to square one again. If I remember well, I used to enjoy blogging immensely, I could dream about posts and images, and recipes, and stories, and now I want that feeling back.

So since a new year has just started, it seems just perfect to start again, to throw some new vibrations over this little blog and hope to see it grow... It is after all a hope I send myself too, I hope to get inspired, to feel good and healthy enough to be able to write and let my creativity flow freely.

For 2014 all I want is to live my creativity to its utmost capacity and let nothing stop me. Nothing. Happy new year everyone.

Hope you are all there, somewhere.

segunda-feira, 28 de maio de 2012

Sesame, Flax, Sunflower, Pumpkin Seeds & Green Tea Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

We are crazy for nut based macarons, but when I tried my first nut free macaron, made out of dried coconut flakes, I got totally obsessed with the idea of trying other nut free possibilities. Nothing to say against nuts. They are super healthy and delicious and I am not allergic, but the possibility to make those beauties with "omega seeds" are just irresistible. I made these macarons with organic seeds from a mix of seeds that include sesame, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. We sell the seed mix at our store. You have to process the seeds with some powdered sugar to make a very fine seed flour and you are ready to go. The good thing is that you can choose to use only the seeds you like.

This recipe is based on this recipe which is part of an entire series dedicated to nut free macarons.

Omega Seeds Mix & Matcha Macarons & Chocolate Filling

Based on this nut-free macaron recipe

100g mix of organic sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and linseeds (flax seeds)
200g organic confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp Japanese green tea pulver (known as: matcha)
100g organic egg whites
50g organic unrefined sugar

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Prepare a large pastry bag or a good plastic bag that you can use to pipe the batter. If using a pastry bag make sure it is fitted with the small plain tip. Make sure to prepare the pans for the baking by lining them with parchment paper or silicone mats (which I don't have).

In a food processor grind the seeds with the confectioners sugar and the green tea powder until a very fine mixture starts to form. Sift the mixture and reserve the larger bits that did not pass through the sieve. You might have to do some extra processing and sifting until most of the mixture have passed through the sieve. You can relax if up to 2 tbsp of seeds did not pass through the sieve. Set them aside to sprinkle over the macarons before baking.

In a bowl combine the egg whites with the sugar and using a stand mixer or a hand mixer (it doesn't matter) whip the egg white until you get a very stiff and dry meringue.

Add the dry ingredients to the meringue. You can add all at once or in parts, since it doesn't matter, do as you like! Fold the mixture with a rubber spatula. Fold until the mixture has a homogeneous thick consistency. There must be not one single white meringue spot visible in the batter. Make a test with a little spoon to check the batter, if it flattens it is most probably good to go. If a peak is formed you might have to add some extra folds to the batter. Transfer the batter to the plastic bag or pastry bag and pipe into small circles, 2 to 3 cm diameter.

You can always draw the circles on the parchment before piping if you don't feel sure about the size. Give the circles some space between them so they will not stick to each other once they start to grow in the oven. Sprinkle the seed that didn't pass the sieve over the piped macarons.

Tips: To avoid those air bubbles you can rap the sheets over your kitchen counter top 2 or 3 times, to dismantle the air bubbles that can crack the domes of the macarons.

Bake for 12 minutes. Let them cool before removing from paper. Properly baked macarons don't stick to the paper so, if you want to check if they are done just try to remove the one of them, that one on the corner of the pan, near the oven door. If it comes out clean they are done. Let them cool completely to release the others from paper.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling

100g organic single or double cream or any other milk free cream
100g organic 60 to 75% dark chocolate, chopped

Lay the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. In pot over medium heat bring the cream to a boil. Add the cream to the chocolate and whisk until homogeneous. Let it cool and place it in a plastic bag. Tie the plastic bag with a rubber band, lay it in a bowl and refrigerate. You want to refrigerate the ganache enough to thicken it into a piping consistence, not more. So keep you eye on it.

Pipe 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon of ganache on the bottom part of one macaron shell. Top with another macaron shell and press slightly to sandwich the two halves together. Place the sandwiched macarons in a air tight container. They will keep fresh to up to a week. Better eat them fresh. In my opinion freshly baked macarons have a better consistency.

quarta-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2012

Arancia Rossa di Sicilia (Red Oranges of Sicily)

I am totally crazy for red oranges which I refuse to call blood orange. This is just a bad name. I call them simply red oranges because that's how they are called in Italy, where they come from. The color of those beauties are they high point of attraction, at least to me. I just can't resist them. Their flavor reminds me of laranja pera another species of oranges, typical of the State in Brazil where I grew up.

Most of the red oranges I find here in Norway are Tarocco species, from Sicily. It is also quite easy to find them organic in some of the best food stores in town. It is now also quite common to find some of the Spanish red oranges around the shops. I prefer the Italian ones not only because they are much sweeter but because they have the perfect shade of red. The Spanish are not as sweet and they are so dark that looks a little bit scary orange.

Besides having the highest vitamin C content among all the oranges produced in the World, Arancia Rossa di Sicilia (Red oranges of Sicily) have protected geographical status and are just the perfect red orange for desserts, salads and juices. The more sour ones are more suitable for marmelades and marinades.

I love to make red orange gelatin with freshly squeezed red orange juice or salad with organic black Greek Kalamata olives and some fresh organic oregano leaves. Simple taste better. Next post I will come with the red orange gelatin recipe. Tell me more about simple recipes...

domingo, 27 de novembro de 2011

Doce Vika and its catalog...

To those of you who did not know yet, I must communicate that since April 2011 I am the happy and proud owner of little organic and gourmet food store, here, in Norway. It is a real store with an online version as well. You can click the link to check our online store. A store is an amazing thing to make, a real big thing, it takes a lot of time to conceive, lot of effort to design and develop and the final product is result of heavy, heavy, heavy work... but it is totally worth paying the heavy work price. It is a dream that took form in reality...

So now I own a food store and the last six months were been spent developing our business, the way I dream it and in the ways we can afford to make it grow healthy, steady etc... It is not easy but our little Doce Vika is growing.

Our Christmas catalog is out now and it is filled with delicious gifts ideas for people of all ages and preferences. Teas from Løv Organic, Kusmi, Pukka, Hari, Les Contes de Thé, Harney & Sons and many, teapots from FORLIFE, chocolates from Vivani, Venchi, Divine, Meium Sjokoladefabrikk and Valrhona for Ligne Blanche. The entire lige of chocolate from Ligne Blanche are packaged in beautiful tinboks with artwork of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat...just amazing!

Plus: An amazing selection of Norwegian products: sjokolades, breads, cookies, jams, juices and sausages. The most perfect Turkish Turkish delights, artisan English cookies, French jams and gelés and organic oils, vinegars and sauces from organic producer Clearspring. Clearspring products were 2011's great revelation, not just in terms of quality, it is more than that. As a company Clearspring is an example that high quality product goes hand in hand with good practices. I am so proud to stock Clearspring products. The catalog is all in Norwegian but I hope you enjoy our little catalog...

domingo, 3 de julho de 2011

The Story of a Bush...

We have two giant bushes in our garden, they make the most important part of our garden and they serve as a green fence, dividing our back yards from our neighbor's. I am totally crazy for those bushes because of the magnificent little white flowers that bloom on their branches every year... However, those flowers became a reason of conflict between my husband Per and I.

Every spring Per demands to cut the branches to give them some strength and energy, he says. Plants are no alien to me, I know they need to be trimmed every year but those bushes bloom exactly on the tip of the branches which must be trimmed... know what I mean? If I allow the spring trimming there won't be any flowers to magnify and beautify our garden... of course we have a big garden and loads of other plants bloom freely, anyhow...

As the bush grows freely, trim-free, they loose strength and the winter snow starts to be too heavy for their extra-long branches which are now curving every winter. Can you understand the entire thing? I just can't loose the flowers but I don't want to risk loosing my entire bushes because if I don't trim them at some point they will just collapse with the snow one of these years. So, every autumn I take my garden scissors, not a very big one I must confess, and I trim the longer branches myself, it is not easy, it is more like cutting someone's long hair with extra-small nail scissors.

Per won't interfere with my crazy trimming process which is much harder than necessary (because I insist to use the wrong tool) and I also perform it during the wrong time of the year. Anyway, this is me, my love for my bush, it is also me, trying to change the nature of things around here... why not?

Every year I bring some branches inside and I place them in a big glass pot in my annual attempt to reproduce indoors the spectacular view we have outside. It is a vain attempt as the bush is simply magnificent...