Barcelona, Personal

Shakshouka brunch

Sunday mornings are always easygoing at my place. No alarms and no rush; just a flow of “do as you please” in the air. Today was no exception. I sat on the couch and with a cup of green tea watched an episode of Chef’s Table. It left me stunned.

It features Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist nun who resides in a temple in South Korea and cooks vegan cuisine in the most spiritual way I’ve ever seen in my life. I really identified with her approach to food because of her sense of community and communication.

“With food we can share and communicate our emotions. It’s that mindset of sharing that is really what you’re eating. There is no difference between cooking and pursuing Buddha’s way.”

Man did this inspire me for today. I embodied her mindset and went off to cook a beautiful Shakshouka brunch with some intimate friends. A few had never tried this before and I was beyond excited to make it for them.

Over bloody marys we chopped crisp bell peppers and roasted tomatoes. Talked about where shakshouka comes from, Theresa May and wondered if she’ll pursue the Maldives after this Gibraltar ordeal, and discussed our current obsession with Big Little Lies.

What I love about this recipe is how soulful it is. It’s quite straight forward to make and has all of the makings of a great comfort food dish: a delicious sauce and a runny egg.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium green poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 eggs
  • 9 medium sized tomatoes (you can use 200gr of canned tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped

Method:

Roast the tomatoes with salt, pepper and olive oil at 170°C for 20 minutes. In a separate large pan at medium heat add the olive oil, followed by the peppers, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and chilli flakes. Then add the sweet paprika and cumin. Cook at medium heat this for about 15 minutes.

After the tomatoes are soft, peel the skin off and blitz them in a blender. After you have a smooth sauce, add it to the pepper and onion mixture. Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes, then add the eggs and cover them. Cook for 5-7 minutes, remove from the heat and top it with parsley, salt and pepper.

This dish is sweet and spicy. Quite soulful. Eat it with bread, tortillas, or even rice if you’re feeling it. We had them with arepas and avocado and let me tell you it was seriously delicious. I really recommend it. Ah, it we washed it down with white wine because, well, it’s Sunday and you can’t judge me.

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Barcelona, Catalan

Empedrat: Lentil and codfish salad

Okay, before I’m burned at the stake by Catalan cuisine connoisseurs, hear me out: I know what a traditional empedrat salad is, I just like playing around with classic dishes. If you’re not familiar with this dish, I’ll explain: Empedrat is traditional Catalan salad made of ganxet beans (also known as Santa Pau beans), raw (sometimes cooked) cod fish, green & red peppers, tomatoes, onions, and  black olives. It’s juicy, tangy, and very refreshing. And I love it. So much that if I don’t have ganxet or white beans at hand, I’ll use the next best legume. In this case, it was lentils.

Making empedrat is pretty straight forward. The veggies included are not exotic or hard to find, and the measurements can be done “by eye”. The key ingredient in it is cod fish. Regardless if it’s fresh or frozen, the briny taste of the cod is the main flavor. I always try to use fresh fish, but sometimes frozen is the only one available and that’s okay. If you use frozen fish I recommend you sauté it in olive oil before adding it to the salad. To make a tasty empedrat salad, you’ll need:

  • Beluga lentils
  • Red bell peppers
  • Green peppers
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Cod fish
  • Parsley

For the vinaigrette:

  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper

Mix 4 parts of vinegar with 2 parts of oil, salt & pepper to taste and there you’ll have your vinaigrette!

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Asian, Barcelona, Bowl of happy, Comfort Food, Fresh Produce, Personal, Vegetarian

Rice Noodles and Sautéed Veggies Topped With a Poached Egg

I’m preparing for a trip to Japan. I haven’t read about protocols to keep in mind whenever I’m on the Japan Railway, or where I’m supposed to take off my shoes. Or how to say “Could you please show me where is the bathroom?”… I did watch that very interesting video about the history of Japan… I’m putting all my hope in live-translation-apps, and all of the Ramen bars I have saved on my Google Maps, the rest is up to my partner and that’s how things are. Another way I prepare for a trip is eating dishes from the cuisine of the country I’m travelling to. That’s how I ended up making this today.

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Asian, Barcelona, Bowl of happy, Fresh Produce

Orange Chicken and Sticky Brown Rice

Orange chicken is not one of the most famous recipes out there, that I’m aware of. It’s no secret that I love Asian cuisine. To avoid making an ignorant generalization, this includes Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, among other cuisines from other countries in the region… I always try to make sure my pantry is always stocked with ingredients that highlight these cultures, such as miso paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, bonito flakes. Also fresh produce like bok choy, cilantro, bean sprouts, lemongrass… For me, it’s like taking a little trip every time I take the time to prepare myself a delicious plate of food. Or when I’m cooking for my friends or my partner. It’s something that I really love and enjoy. Perhaps one day I can go through my pantry and show you guys my favorite ingredients, would you be into that? Let me know in the comments or tweet me at @possiblyjoanne!

One of my favorite things of this type of cuisine is the predominant use of fresh produce it conveys. It can be so inspiring! That’s why this dish that I’m sharing today was a bit uninspiring to make. I’ll elaborate a bit more: I’ve just come back home from a trip to Paris with my partner and we came home to an empty fridge. The only things I had that would make good use for a hearty lunch was: frozen chicken, oranges, and ginger. My pantry was stocked, of course. No hassle there. So I thought “Hell! Why not reinvent a french dish I enjoyed in Paris, duck l’orange and just make… Japanese orange chicken?” I don’t know. Somehow it made sense in my mind and I went with it. But I needed something that would make everything a bit tastier. Some sticky brown rice is always perfect for this kind of dish. And I will say, the outcome sure was delicious. And here it is, Orange chicken and sticky rice.

First, I’ll explain to you guys how I made this sticky rice.

sticky rice

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Appetizers, Asian, Barcelona, Fresh Produce

Salmon Glazed with Miso, Wrapped in Swiss Chard

So, I got beautiful salmon fillets at the market this morning…

And swiss chard is in season! So it’s time to get people who don’t like eating leafy greens, eating them! I always try to develop and create new ways to make leafy (and usually boring) greens tastier. This is where the Japanese ingredients and salmon comes in. My boyfriend (and food guinea pig) is an adult child and really hates greens, so, challenge accepted. Game on.

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So that’s how I came up with the idea of miso glazed salmon fillets wrapped in swiss chard. I try to always keep Japanese ingredients like miso paste, rice vinegar and soy sauce in my pantry. They’re a must. Not only because I love those flavors but also because it’s a kind of diversity I enjoy having at least once a week (Spanish food can get boring after a while).

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Barcelona, Bowl of happy, Comfort Food, Fresh Produce, Pasta

Cloudy Pasta Primavera

I love carb-loading. Ain’t no shame in that, maybe just a little guilt. That’s why I add veggies so I can feel better about it, ha. Right. Either way, there’s something comforting about having a bowl of pasta on a cloudy day. Never as comforting as soup, but comforting even so. It’s rather cloudy today in Barcelona, and it has been for the past few days. Something rare in this city, it’s almost always sunny for the most part. This type of weather usually calls for soup but, for some reason it felt like a hassle to make one. Or better yet, I was just being beyond lazy, (I have today off from my 9 to 5 job) so I decided to make this ‘spring’ pasta, sans the sun, plus chicken.

This pasta primavera recipe is especially easy to make because it’s just about throwing ingredients together. The only thing to keep in mind is the timing: timing of cooking the pasta, of sauteeing the garlic, etc. But more of that later. To start, the ingredients that you will need:

  • Whole wheat pasta ( I used spaghetti)
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 Small dried peperoncino
  • Olive oil (2-3 tablespoons)
  • 1 Small carrot
  • 1 Small zucchini
  • Frozen peas
  • Spring onions (1/4 of a cup)

For the chicken:

  • Chicken breast
  • A pinch of provençal herbs
  • Half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Barcelona, Comfort Food, Fresh Produce, Pasta

Rigatoni bolognese: a comfort food favorite

Rigatoni and bolognese sauce, a comfort food favorite of my childhood❤️

A photo posted by Joanne (@possiblyjoanne) on

It’s the holidays and I’m two days shy of getting home, finally! I can’t wait to be spoiled and pampered by my family for a few days. To me, it’s like heaven just to think about it! But, in the meantime, I have to spoil myself with one of my favorite dishes from my childhood: rigatoni bolognese.

My mom used to make this a lot when I was young and feeling down; something about the protein and iron in the bolognese sauce would lift me up, she would say. Something I love about this bolognese is that it’s also really easy to make. You can also store the bolognese in the freezer, this way you can have it in the freezer you just have to heat it up and boil pasta. Pretty handy, huh

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This recipe yields two and this is what you’ll need.

  • 100 gr of minced beef meat
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • half a medium onion
  • one handful of parsley
  • 500 gr to crushed tomato
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one pinch or sugar
  • 180 gr of rigatoni (90 grams per person)

Method:

For the rigatoni: Boil some water for the pasta for about 15 minutes. Once you’re ready to add the rigatoni add some salt and boil it away.

For the bolognese: Cut up the onion into small pieces, the carrot into halves. Sautee the onion and carrot in olive oil with the bay leaf.

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Add the minced beef meat, sautee it with the onion, carrot and bay leaf until it’s slightly brown. Then add the crushed tomato and let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, at medium-low heat. Taste, taste, taste. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. If it’s too acidic add a pinch of sugar to balance it out. Taste again and adjust the balance of the salt to your own liking.

Top with parsley and parmesan cheese and there you have it! Rigatoni bolognese!

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