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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Barcelona, Cocktails, Eating out, Tapas

Fizzy Holiday Cocktails and Tapas at Casa Lolea

I have a daytime drinking policy: it’s only okay at brunch and when having aperitifs with tapas. And vermuth. And best friend crisis. And boy problems. Well, those are several policies, but who’s counting?Also, another one if to kickstart the holiday season after a very fat Thanksgiving weekend. So, why not with a few fizzy cocktails and tapas at one of my most beloved neighborhood restaurants: Casa Lolea. This ain’t your run of the mill sangría and tapas place in Barcelona, which might sound like a distasteful tourist trap. It isn’t one of those. It’s an antic sangría factory from Zaragoza that opened its doors in Barcelona about a year ago. Their concept: straight up traditional sangrías, and some with a nice twist.

And so it began: fizzy cocktails and delightful tapas on a Sunday afternoon.

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Asian, Barcelona, Fresh Produce, Pasta, Vegetarian

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry

Each time I go to the market I get overly excited to buy fresh produce. Kind of like a child at a candy store. Everything is so colorful and my attention is everywhere. Colors. Textures. Taste. That’s mostly why I love making Asian inspired recipes, not only you get a wonderful flavor, but you also enjoy a diversity of textures. Also, who doesn’t like looking at a bright spread of fresh produce?

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Appetizers, Barcelona, Fresh Produce, Tapas, Vegetarian

White Bean Crostini with Mint-Cilantro Vinaigrette

…Vegetarian ceviche style! God, I love ceviche on a crostini. It’s probably my favorite fish dish, except this isn’t a fish dish. Anyway, lemon-lime and everything acid truly make me happy, especially when this kind of vinaigrette seeps into toast or a crostini. I can already feel my tongue tingle. I also really enjoy the combination of mint and cilantro, reminds me a lot of Vietnamese style dishes (which are amazing!).  This recipe is a very simple and quick one to make. Crostinis make the best kind of tapas! For guests, for date night, for yourself, it doesn’t really matter! Making the topping for the crostini is quite straightforward, you can use any kind of beans, it doesn’t matter. It’s not like you’re going to run a Likert scale questionnaire on yourself.

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Barcelona, Fresh Produce

Nachos + Pomegranate Salsa and Chunky Guacamole

Falling into fall is so wonderful. All the deep colors. All the versatility of the ingredients in the season: squash, artichokes, cauliflower, pomegranate, sweet potato… Sweet, savory, sour, salty, bitter… You can achieve so many layers of flavor with these ingredients it just makes my mouth water with excitement. I just love going to the market and seeing how as the year progresses the colors at each section change. although in Barcelona autumn is pretty much an indian summer, it’s delightful. I’m constantly looking at different sources of inspiration, and I love sharing them with everyone else. One of my favorite blogs is The Delicious Life, it’s so beautiful and real. Just straightforward food without all of the nonsense of unnecessary adjectives to describe beautiful and delicious food. There, I found a tasty pomegranate salsa recipe, which I’ve decided to make and adjust to my likes and haves.

Also, I took advantage on the fact that it’s National Nachos Day, I just needed an excuse to make nachos and salsa!

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This is what you’ll need:

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Baked, Barcelona, Catalan

Catalan traditions: Panellets

Being in a relationship with someone from a completely different culture than I am surely is enlightening. Each time we enter a new weather season there’s a new tradition to be immersed in. This has made me begin a series within my blog where every time I try a different tradition, I’ll share it on here. Call it “Joanne and a series of catalan traditions” if you will. Fall brings ‘Panellets’. Panellets are probably the most traditional sweet pastries in all Catalunya. They’re made of almond flour, sugar and pine nuts. Think: marzipan with less sugar. Don’t tell Marc’s mom I compared them to marzipan.

In Catalunya you know fall is officially here when pastry shops and grocery stores start getting ready for “La Castañada” (the chestnut party). It’s the holiday where everyone take the streets to eat roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes. I like to think of it as a street food festival. Everyone is drinking moscatell and eating chestnuts and sweet potatoes. On the following morning, to cure your moscatell hangover you eat panellets (I made up the hangover part). This weekend I learned how to make them, these you don’t enjoy on the street, you have them at home, I made them with guidance from Marc’s mom (Lourdes), of course. Not as traditional without a Mama present. But don’t worry, I’ll show you guys how to make them!

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This is what you’ll need to make pine nuts, cherry, coconut, and membrillo (quince cheese) panellets:

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Baked, Barcelona, Fresh Produce

Apple Pie Pastelitos

My mom hosted the gnarliest girls night at home when I was a kid. To a five-year-old me, they were wild and insane. But now, in hindsight it was probably the only relaxation time she had with our family and her friends. It consisted in all of my aunts and their friends coming to the apartment and playing bingo. Also, some light gambling. I remember playing under the table while they gossiped about things I can’t remember or were beyond me. It was awesome. I remember feeling like a grown up (at 5!) just by being surrounded by the amazing women in my life. Also, my grandma was the fucking boss.

Often when they couldn’t play at home, they’d go to an underground bingo at the 181st subway station in Manhattan. My mom would take me with her when she couldn’t get one of my cousins or brothers to look after me. She doesn’t believe in baby sitters. So I would go there and hang out. But sitting down on a table wasn’t my thing. I would fidget and it was just terrible. I remember being restless and annoying so she’d leave me at the cafeteria with my brother’s godmother, Miriam. It’s the only place where I’d sit still. There, Miriam taught me how to make pastelitos. Pastelitos are pastry in the shape of small pockets. They’re also known as empanadas. Often filled with savory fillings such as chicken, beef, cheese, or sweet fillings like guayaba. I perfectly remember closing the little pockets with a plastic fork so vividly. My biggest responsibility in life at that moment: don’t let the filling spill. This memory came rushing to me as I was making these little hand pies on a Saturday afternoon, so I just had to share. Anyway, it’s fall! Time to bake pies nonstop, apple pie to be specific!

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