about


Hola, this is Anna. I am a Catalan noia with Basque roots – that really explains my obsession with food. What made me start this? Virtually cooking 9 to 6pm from a call centre cubicle was not enough… Curiosity can also make a cat stronger, therefore I started Pastry School.  I chose Espai Sucre because it simply is the best school.

I live in Catalonia, where the sun shines and architecture, food and wine are all Gods. So is family, you don’t mess with the family. I’m in love with the Mediterranean, although I wouldn’t mind if you ever wanted to invite me to a trip to Hawaii, Japan, Brazil or Indonesia. I’d go to Paris as well, I’ve never been to Paris. Oh and the Basque country is beautiful. Something not as good about the Mediterranean? Things don’t get done and “anything goes”!

My blog is here to document my food making and learning process: from reading to making up dishes to buying ingredients, from preparations to experimenting, from success to endless mistakes and to finally sharing it with my people. I’m Taurus and I don’t deal well with failure, so I always expect a much higher success rate.
The basic idea is to have fun, learn and share, keep it as short as possible with nice, appealing photography. But hey, it’s all homemade, therefore it will look homemade! It won’t be perfectly written or structured, I am flexible in everything I do.

My aim is to follow seasonality, respect nature and what it produces for us to enjoy. Where possible, I want to select a wine to pair with the dish. We have great wine. I buy local from local farmers, butchers, bakers, groceries, etc – I want to show you the shops and the markets. I want to study traditional recipes and give them a twist. I also want to try dishes from other countries, such as Pão de Queijo and Beef Stroganoff.

I’m sure you are not surprised: I LOVE baking, however…I am not sticking to baking only, I don’t believe in limitations. Now, do expect a fair amount of baking around here: butter, sugar, flour, eggs. Chocolate. My God chocolate, really wish endorphins didn’t come in the shape, taste and flavour of chocolate.

Also, please note I am not a native English speaker – I will be thankful if you correct my spelling boo boos as well! Feedback, comments and opinions are always welcome. With time I want to shorten my texts and use my native languages also, Catalan and Spanish.

All on board, the ship is ready to sail.

Anna

Caixes de Natura


A vegades la vida de la ciutat t’allunya dels orígens… Nosaltres trobem a faltar i necessitem el contacte amb la natura! Ens regenera, ens omple d’energia i ens aporta serenitat i pau.

Caixa del Bosc

D’un dia de platja i d’un dia de bosc vam recopilar tot de regals que ens fa la natura. Després només va ser qüestió de trobar unes caixes de fusta adequades. Ara ens agradaria molt pintar-les i personalitzar-les.

La petita gran índia un cop al dia o dos em demana la “caixa a mat” (aka la caixa del mar) o la “caixa de boc”. Les obrim i les contrastem: els cargols de mar són diferents dels de mar, les pedres també ho són, al bosc hi ha plantes aromàtiques i al mar hi ha algues, etc…

photo 1Vam tenir la sort de trobar una petita estrella de mar i li hem explicat a la petita gran índia que només viuen al mar.

De la mateixa manera que només els esquirols (insertar “plimplimplimplimsaltal’esquirol”) del bosc es mengen les pinyes del bosc! Només ens falta tenir la sort de poder veure un esquirolet algún dia :)

I vosaltres? Com esteu en contacte amb la natura?

Pumpkin Soup, Red Pepper Roast Pork and Cooked Apples | Crema de Carbassa, Llom a la Paprika i Pomes Cuites


ENGLISH – So… I was hungry. I also had cooking apples, half a whole pork loin in the fridge and pumpkin and carrots. I could have made pasta and could have had a full belly within 20 minutes. But NO, let’s make my stomach wonder whether it will ever get fed. It knows it’s usually worth it. You’ll see I made food for 5 or 6 people but I need to freeze portions for when Aina arrives :)

Pumpkin Soup
You’ll need a big pot, put your veggies in it as you have them ready. Peel and chop a pumpkin, mine was about 1kg-1.5 kg. Peeling them is a pain, I use a very good quality (OXO) peeler. Peel 5-6 carrots and chop them up too. What makes this soup creamy? Potatoes! I used 5 big ones. Peel and chop up. Now, cover the potatoes, carrots and pumpkin with water by over 3 to 4 cm. Cover and bring to a boil, when it does, add salt. I added 2 tablespoons. Let simmer until the veggies are soft and you can purée them. Depending on how dense you want the pumpkin soup, remove some of the boiling water. Try it, add salt, pepper, cumin, basil, coriander, etc.

Apples
Peel and core 4 cooking apples. I cut mine in 4 slices and then each in 3 slices. Put in a medium size pot with 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil/sunflower oil/butter, stir for even coating and let them cook on medium heat until you hear them “fry”. Your apples will eventually have no liquid to cook in, so I added spoonfuls of the pumpkin liquid to it, just enough to cover them. I also added the juice of half a lemon. Cook until they’re soft but not breaking. Unless you want to make a compote! Finish it off with black pepper. I wish I had basil leaves too but my plant was literally taken away by the wind.

Pork
I sliced the pork loin, and I got 6 thick slices. Lay them on a big plate, drizzle olive oil, salt, black pepper, paprika and MASSAGE. Yes, massage your pork loin. Turn the filets around and season. Leave at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. As they were a bit thick and I wanted a quick sear (I wasn’t bothered to turn on my oven), I microwaved them until the outside of the filets looked cooked and the center pink. Then I seared them in a pan with hot olive oil.

Plating
In a bowl, put your pumpkin soup. Top it with the pork fillets, Greek yoghurt and finish it off with your cooked apples.

DONE! This could go really well with a risotto too!

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CATALÀ – Doncs… Tenia gana. També tenia pomes de cuinar, mig llom de porc sencer a la nevera i una carbassa i pastanagues. Podria haver fet una mica de pasta i tenir l’estomac ple i satisfet en 20 minuts. Però NO, fem que el meu estomac es pregunti si mai serà alimentat. També sap que normalment, l’espera val la pena. Veuràs que aquesta recepta dóna ben bé per 5 o 6 racions però haig de congelar menjar per quan arribi l’Aina i em converteixi jo en la nevera.

Crema de Carbassa
Necessitaràs una olla o pot gran, ves-hi posant les teves verdures a mida que les tinguis tallades. Pela i talla a daus una carbassa mitjana, la meva feina ben bé 1.5kg. Pelar carbasses és una feinada, jo faig servir un pelador de molt bona qualitat (OXO) i m’hi estic menys temps. Pela 5 o 6 pastanagues i talla-les també. Què fa que aquesta crema sigui cremosa? Patata! Jo en vaig fer servir 5 de grans. Si vols més gust a carbassa treu pastanagues i patata i posa més carbassa. Pela-les i talla també. Ara tens totes les verdures a l’olla, cobreix d’aigua passant dos dits les verdures. Tapa i porta a ebullició, quan bullin afegeix 2 cullerades soperes de sal i baixa el foc a mitjà fins que estiguin toves. Retira o deixa el líquid depenent de la textura que busques i tritura. Prova la crema, afegeix sal,pebra, comí, alfàbrega, coriandre, etc..

Pomes
Pela i treu el cor de 4 pomes de cuinar. Jo vaig tallar-les en 4 llunes i cada una en 3 llunes més. Posa-les en un pot o paella petita però alta, afegeix 2 o 3 cullerades d’oli o mantega i remou. Deixa-les coure a foc mitjà fins que sentis que “fregeixen”. Les pomes arribarà un punt on no tindran més líquid en el que coure, així que vaig afegir cullerades del brou de bullir les verdures, just fins cobrir. També vaig afegir en aquest punt mig suc de llimona i sal. Cou fins que són toves però no desintegrades. Finalitza amb pebra negra. M’hagués encantat tenir alfàbrega, però la planta se la va literalment emportar el vent.

Llom de Porc
Vaig treure uns 6 filets del llom de porc, bastant gruixuts, com d’un dit i mig. Disposa-ls sobre un plat en el que hicàpiguen tots, afegeix un rajolí d’oli per sobre dels filets, sal, pebra i paprika i fes un MASSATGE als filets. Sí, fes-los un MASSATGE. Dóna la volta als filets i repeteix la operació. Deixa a temperatura ambient durant 15-20 minuts. Jo només volia segellar ràpidament els filets per la paella, no coure-ls dins la paella. Els vaig coure al micro primer, fins que les vores van deixar d’estar crues i el centre era encara cru. Llavors els vaig coure a la paella ràpidament fins cuits.

Emplatar
En un bol, posa primer la crema de carbassa. A sobre, hi van dos filets de llom de porc, iogurt (DENSIA DANONE) i finalitza amb les pomes cuites.

FET! Aquest plat podria ser ben bo convertit en risotto!

Cheesecake: finding the right texture | Cheesecake: trobant la textura idònea


ENGLISH – Cheesecake is probably one of the top most loved cakes. However, don’t you find them a biiiiiit heavy sometimes? Too pasty and dense? This is a basic cheesecake recipe, which I adore. This recipe makes a dense, flavourful cheesecake. However, by folding in 100ml of whipped cream and 2 whipped egg whites, the texture improves in softness and lightness.

Ingredients RT*
Full fat Cream cheese 454gr
Sugar 200gr
3 large eggs
Freshly squeezed lemon juice 50gr
1 vanilla pod and seeds
1 pinch of salt

Full fat cream 100ml
2 egg whites

Topping – raspberries and blueberries, vanilla, lemon juice, sugar.

Basic Instructions
Beat cream cheese and sugar until soft and light. Add vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat until slightly foamy. Add lemon juice and salt. Beat cream, fold in gently. Beat egg whites, fold in gently. Bake at 175ºC. TIP!! Cheesecakes are usually tastier, incredibly tastier, the following day.

* RT = RoomTemperature

CATALÀ – Cheesecake (pastís de formtage) és segurament un dels 10 pastissos que més agraden. Tot i així, no trobeu a vegades que són massa densos, pastosos? Aquesta és una molt bona recepta base per a fer cheesecakes: fa un pastís dèns i plè de sabor. Però, incorporant 100ml de nata muntada i 2 clares d’ou muntades, la textura millora en suavitat i lleugeresa. Un cheesecake plè d’aroma i sabor sense pesar-te a l’estòmac.

Ingredients TA*
Formatge crema 454gr
Sucre 200gr
3 us grans
Suc de llimona, expremut 50gr
1 branca de vainilla
1 pessic de sal

Nata sencera 100ml
2 clares d’ou

Topping – gerds, mírtils, suc de llimona, vainilla i sucre.

Instruccions bàsiques
Bat el formatge crema i el sucre fins lleuger i cremós. Afegeix els ous un a un i bat fins veure petites bombolletes. Afegeix vainilla, suc de llimona i sal. Semi monta la nata, afegeix en moviments envolvents. Monta les clares, afegeix en moviments envolvents. TRUC!! Els pastissos de formatge són increíblement bons el dia següent, no acabats de fer!

TA* = Temperatura Ambient