I was organising my library the other day and found the little notebook I took with me while traveling the world in 2014. Inside it I wrote lots of things, mostly plans and itineraries, some random sketches but also a few recipes and quotes that would catch my attention. This one was one of them. Back then I listened to a lot of the Harvard Business Review' podcasts and although the context of this podcast in particular was around nomadic leaders, I found the observation so true in so many aspects of our lives. I hope you remember these words the next time you face a hard choice.
In her book The flavour Thesaurus, Niki Segnit writes:
My grandfather must have known this when he decided to plant two fig trees in our garden.
To be completely honest, fresh figs never really appealed to me. I thought their flavour to be bland and their texture grainy and mushy. That was until this summer. It must have been the exceptional warmth that was felt all over Portugal, but the fact is that I've never eaten so many figs in my life and they never tasted so good!
I'm already planning to dry many of the ones that are still on the tree, but first, I thought about making a very quick, raw fig jam.
Super Quick Fig Jam (makes 1 cup)
12-14 fresh ripe figs
1 tbsp of date paste
3 drops of vanilla extract
A squeeze of lemon juice
A pinch of salt
1 cinnamon tick
First, peel the figs. Put them in a very clean glass jar and mash them with the help of a muddler or a wooden spoon. It's ok if it stays a bit chunky. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Enjoy it with bread, toasts or in your yogurt. It will pair vary well with salty and fatty ingredients.
Well, I hope you enjoyed yesterday's recipe. Here's recipe number two!
Butternut squash Hummus (makes approximately 2 cups)
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 butternut squash, roasted
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3/4 cup water
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp fine pink salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
Freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to serve
In a blender pour the liquid ingredients first and then add the spices and seasoning followed by the solid ingredients. Blend everything until smooth. If you need, use a spatula to scrape the sides of your blender in order to have a homogenous, smooth paste. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
The serving suggestion here is to toast a few slices of sweet potato in a regular toaster* and top them with the hummus and chopped fresh tomatoes, seasoned with a pinch of salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Today I woke up to rain, wind and cold. It's hard to believe that a couple of days ago it was warm enough for a night swim in the pool...! This summer was amazingly warm here in Portugal and a bit of coldness is very welcomed.
It has been a while since I shared a recipe so in the next couple of days I'll share two with one main ingredient: a butternut squash.
So, start by cutting a butternut squash - the one I got had approximately 1kg - in quarters. Put it in a roasting tin and bake with no seasoning or fat in a pre-heated oven at 200ºC for 40 minutes or until soft. Let it cool to room temperature and set aside to use in the recipes. You can make this in advance and keep it in the fridge.
Butternut squash smoothie bowl (serves 1)
1/4 butternut squash, roasted
1 frozen banana
1 cup of freshly brewed tea (I used green jasmin)
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp pumpkin spice (if you don't have it use a mix of cinnamon and nutmeg)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients until smooth and pour it in a bowl. Serve with your favourite granola.
A few words about my favourite granola at the moment. It's a raw buckwheat granola that I learned to make with the guys at Matthew Kenney Culinary. It's made out of sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat, sweetened with date paste and seasoned with wonderful autumn flavours, like cinnamon, lemon and apple. It's not only delicious but also ver, very filling!
After an excellent experience with Matthew Kenney Culinary in Venice, Los Angeles, last March, I decided to embark on a longer challenge and enrolled for their online Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine - Level 1.
To be completely honest I wasn't expecting the course to be as challenging as it was! Raw food cuisine requires a tremendous amount of planning, preparation and patience.
This course covers the basics that any chef (raw, vegan or not) should know, starting with knife skills and care, to nutrition concepts, flavour balancing, recipe development and plating guidelines. It's obviously a hands on experience with just the right amount of theory and creativity.
During one month, dedicated instructores give each student precious feedback, encouragement and freedom to acknowledge, experiment and create beautiful recipes and presenting them in the most beautiful, harmonious way.
I'll leave you with some of those creations and a link to their website: https://matthewkenneycuisine.com
Maybe you get inspired as well and help us Craft the Future of Food!