an autumn risotto

For someone who likes to cook living alone can be tricky. I'm not even talking about being too lazy to cook for one. If one likes to cook, one doesn't mind cooking for one. The problem is: there is no one to eat the food which, therefore, lies indefinitely in the fridge, waiting for someone to rescue it from its moldy fate.
Last week, following some unpredictably busy days, i found myself eating a 6 day old white bean soup with turnip greens and a 9 day old white basmati rice!! 9 DAY OLD! I did survive, apparently no harm done to my gastrointestinal tract. But how is one supposed to feed a food blog with such a stale food life?!

Finally, today, free of all leftovers, i was finally able to cook something from scratch. I turned to my fridge and pantry for inspiration and it came in the form of this delicious risotto! Its warm colours and creamy taste are a good welcome to the Autumn who is slowly starting to settle in.

Hokkaido Rice and Barley Risotto

Ingredients (for a couple of meals for 1)
1/2 cup short grain whole rice, soaked
1/2 cup barley, soaked
1/2 hokkaido squash, skin on
1 stick celery, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
3 cups vegetable stock (or water)
100 ml single cream
a few sage leaves, thinly chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
a pinch of ground cumin seeds
Olive oil and butter

Parsley, chopped
Queijo da Ilha (or any strong flavoured, salty cheese, like parmesan or peccorino), shaved
pine nuts, toasted
Crumbled paio or any good quality smoked sausage. I used this wonderful organic painho

Soak the grains for as long as you can, up to 8 hours and drain.
Heat the stock or water. Keep hot.
Deseed and cut the half squash in aprox. 1cm thick slices. Season with salt and the coriander and cumin seeds and roast for approximately 25 minutes or until tender in a 190ºC (gas 5) oven. Remove and cut into cubes.
While the squash is cooking, put a medium saucepan over moderate heat and warm some olive oil and butter. Add the shallots, celery and sage leaves and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the rice and cook, stiring for 1 minute. Add the red wine and cook, stiring until wine is absorbed. Add just enough stock or water to barely cover the rice and keep cooking, stiring frequently until all the liquid is absorbed. Keep adding more liquid until the rice is slightly undercooked.
Add the single cream and the roasted squash, stir, and cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the stove, top with the chopped parsley, toasted pine nuts, painho and cheese and serve.


The biker part of my heart is split in two

The part that prefers a bycicle with minus 2 kg and an extra speed and the part that wants to ride with a straight back and a pretty dress.
I admit the thought of riding alongside all the bike-unfriendly, angry drivers is still a bit scary but unless we actually start to ride our bikes more, the situation will never change. Right?! Right.
Plus, not many things make me happier and lighter than riding a bycicle, feeling the wind in my face. It's sort of a I-can-conquer-the-world-feeling. Yes, totally childish. But soooo good!
Birthday and Christmas are getting closer. Who knows? I might get lucky... :)

More pretty ways to move safely.



Back, after a long pause due to technical problems which resulted in a complete blog-makeover.
Meanwhile, Autumn has arrived! Grey rainy skies make the world seem calmer and wiser, more thoughtful and austere. The perfect time to slow down, to enjoy slowing down.
Here are a few things I’m longing for these next few months.

Sturdier vegetables, wearing boots, walking under a drizzle bareheaded, baking cookies, crumbles, pies and this lovely apple cake (again!), crocheting scarves and wrist warmers for me and anyone who asks, learning to knit, lazy afternoons at home, jogging regardless of the weather, getting my hands dirty in b’s school garden, reading more, spending less time online, helping b with with her violin practice. And reading her and myself beautiful dreamy books like this (from where the beautiful picture below was taken).

Welcome back!

[from the book "Ça pousse comment". Texte et illustrations : Gerda Muller]


saying goodbye to spring - Halloumi, chouriço and fava bean bruschetta

Halloumi cheese is a semi-hard cheese from Cyprus, traditionally made from goat and sheep milk. It has a salty flavour and a high melting point which makes it perfect for grilling, while keeping its shape.

The first historical records show that the cheese was wrapped in mint leaves, both for preservation reasons - because of mint's anti-bacterial properties - and flavor. Nowadays it is common to be eaten alone as part of mezze, grilled and served with meat or in a salad with watermelon.

I had been wanting to try it for quite some time but it took me a while to find a place to buy it in Lisboa. When i finally did, this was the result:


A spring-flavoured pasta

Fava beans, fresh peas and mint is a combination made in heaven! If you pair it with a white cheese like ricotta or feta then you cross a point of no return. You will find yourself going back to these fellows over and over again and, as long as your veggies are good, you will never be disappointed. Not once.


Portuguese flavours

Good food doesn't need much. Just itself and a few hungry souls


My banana and coconut bread with vanilla

Yesterday i ventured into the daunting world of "baking without a recipe" and - against all odds - survived!  With a winning smile on my face and a delicious banana bread in my mouth.