When I have a bit of time in the morning, after a workout routine I like to make a “hearty” yet nutritious smoothie bowl. The video below here shows the recipe step-by-step guide on how to make this easy smoothie.
Can top-up with everything you have around your kitchen, from nuts to fruits and seeds.
This specific recipe I created here provides you with a good amount of nutrients to start on a great day!
Chia seeds are known for their high content of Omega 3 which are essential healthy fats for your brain’s optimal functionality. Goji berries, although sweet and tangy, they have a low content in sugar and help with a great boost of antioxidants for your cells. Cannot talk enough about the health benefits of bananas. Full in potassium and calcium they are the best companion to every sports person! Once you finish exercising your immediate intake of one banana can help you reduce inflammation and restore your lactic acid in your muscles and tendons.
Use vegetable milk not because you care about cows but because it’s more nourishing, adding more protein and healthy fats to your diet! You will crave less sweets and munchies in general!
Yoga plays an important part of today’s many people lifestyle! Most active people have done one or two classes of some sort of yoga in their lives.
In Spain, yoga is becoming more and more a routine, which is great! Retreats and specialised gyms offer now classes from classic hatha to power or asthanga yoga. Around Barcelona we have amazing spots for practicing and meditating by the sea or overlooking from Tibidabo hill.
Many villas (masias) are now focusing on offering weekend or day retreats in their holiday packages which is great way to attract folk from around the world but also to influence people to lead a healthy lifestyle.
¡El yoga juega una parte importante en el estilo de vida de muchas personas de hoy! La mayoría de las personas activas han hecho una o dos clases de algún tipo de yoga en sus vidas.
En España, el yoga se está convirtiendo cada vez más en una rutina, ¡lo cual es genial! Los retiros y gimnasios especializados ofrecen ahora clases de hatha clásico a power o asthanga yoga. Alrededor de Barcelona tenemos lugares increíbles para practicar y meditar junto al mar o con vistas desde la colina del Tibidabo.
Muchas villas (masías) ahora se centran en ofrecer retiros de fin de semana o días en sus paquetes de vacaciones, lo cual es una excelente manera de atraer a personas de todo el mundo, pero también de influir en las personas para llevar un estilo de vida saludable.
En Cooking Nature hemos desarrollado un menú especializado para yoga y retiros activos donde combinamos un desayuno, almuerzo, merienda y cena saludables con un taller sobre nutrición deportiva y enfocada en la salud. Nos asociamos con nutricionistas especializados de todo el mundo para ofrecer este menú y taller.
Para colaborar con Cooking Nature en su próximo retiro de yoga, contacte-nos.
Back in 2018 I started this vermouth tasting with the experts in culinary experiences at EatWith and later on with AirBnB Experiences.
Ever since then this experience became quite popular among tourists and locals to the point I was asked to host it for private clients.
The experience revolves around this aperitif, the vermouth, a drink that became known more than 100 years ago and its growing its popularity ever since around the bar scene on the Catalan coast.
To enjoy the history, the tapas and vermouths (4-5 to count) in the heart of Barcelona book here. There will be an introduction to vermouth’s history, the various differences and notes you will taste as well as an explanation on the typical dishes you will have with each one. We taste vermouths mostly from Catalunya and Italy, but occasionally we have French and Northern Spanish types as well. If we made you curious:
Planning an event involves more dedication than you probably accounted for. A successful party, of any kind, starts with good company, but also with great tasting food and nevertheless a nice welcoming space!
Every since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by my grandma’s dedication to host fabulous luncheons and dinner parties. I gotta say, I have her genes when it comes to entertaining people around the table.
Tip no.1: Attention to detail is very important and makes the difference when hosting a gathering with family and friends or a baby-shower for your college bff or anything!
Print a menu for your guests! This is a nice touch to show people what they’re about to eat. Especially if you have guests with dietary restrictions. Just ping me here to help!
And pick a place, either at home or elsewhere that has a good vibe and it’s in easy reach for all your guests!
Tip no. 2: Be creative! My take on a dinner party will involve a lot of easy 3-ingredient recipe dips for breaking up the ice and hunger! Some recipes inspo here. Add some good quality dark bread and grissini to go with your dips.
Tips no. 3: Serve a mouth watering main course. Whatever the option you chose, make it special and add a little extra care into cooking it! Garnish, garnish, garnish! I can’t sell enough the garnishes! They make any dull looking plate into a 4* gourmet one! And they don’t have to be fancy and expensive. Sometimes a sprinkle of chiffonade parsley can say more than a mil words.
Tip no. 4: Have some good ambience! Candles, soft light, fresh flowers if it’s the case, music, maybe actually splurged on a live musician for a change, why not??
Tip no. 5: Have a good time! Enjoy your guests and laugh, make them feel welcomed. If you feel and look good to the rest, the atmosphere will be the same! No one wants a grumpy and stressed host because the meat got overcooked. That’s what makes me think of the last tip which is:
Tip no. 6: Have a Plan B! It rains on your parade? Move it inside! Always account for weather changes, and plan accordingly! The food got burned, overcooked, etc? Have a good caterer on hold if things get messy! That’s where I can help!
There are many more tips I could think of for dedicated and custom made events. I am happy to share them with each of you privately if you plan on hosting your next event and need my help!
I am about to share with you a recipe I created and simply love in this time of the year, when the weather is getting a little chilly.
It’s a super easy recipe! But you do need an oven to roast your veggies! And a food processor to make the dip!
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 large red bell pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper (pinch)
1/2 cup coconut milk
sesame seeds to sprinkle
basil to garnish
Preheat your oven at 200ºC.
Place your halved sweet potatoes and the de-seeded pepper on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Sprinkle with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Bake in the hot oven for 30 min or until the potato flesh is soft and you can break it easily with a fork. The pepper might be done before the potatoes so please check from time to time.
Once the veggies are cooked, removed them from the tray. Using a spoon you can scoop out the potato flesh into your food processor or in a bowl (if you have a hand held mixer). You might need to work in 2 batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Add the cooked bell pepper, the remaining olive oil, a pink of salt and pepper and blitz together. Now you can add the other ingredients but the basil and sesame seeds. Make sure you add the coconut milk little by little, depending on how creamy you want your dip to be. Add more spicy pepper if you want it hot!
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with basil leafs.
It’s fairly easy but very tasty and full of carotene and vitamins to keep you strong as we enter the cold season.
You can serve this dip as a snack for your night in with your friends! Or as a side dish along a nice file of cod fish or hake! Goes to die for!
Contact me for more ideas on appetizers and dips for your game nights, dinner parties and friends gatherings!
I recently had the privilege to be invited to demonstrate my Romanian heritage in a show-cooking at Cook & Travel fest in Barcelona! It’s been an amazing experience and a very well attended event!
People had a pre-booked ticket with a limited capacity of 15 seats but the room was packed with almost 40. I was happy to see a few Romanian compatriots coming to my show cooking, and some of them culinary bloggers, among the international crowd.
My demonstration included making cabbage rolls (sarmale), a bean dip with caramelised onion (fasole batuta) and the Easter typical dessert called Pasca.
All recipes can be found below.
The newest culinary festival in Barcelona proved to attract many curious foodies, but also important chefs with many Michelin stars and food connoisseurs.
Here are my recipes:
Sour cabbage rolls – “Sarmale”
12pax / cooking time: aprox. 3.5h/ difficulty: medium
500 g of minced pork
500 g of minced beef
2 medium white onions
3 handfuls white rice
5 tablespoons tomato puree
2 bunch of dill
2kg kg of pickled sour cabbage leaves (this recipe is also good for wine leaves so you can use those instead)
1L tomato juice
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt or to taste
2 bay leaves
1 bunch thyme (dried or fresh)
300 g smoked bacon
2 tbsp oil (sunflower preferably)
Clean the onions and chop finely. Cook the onions in a little oil on medium heat until become translucid. Add the rice which was previously passed through cold water to remove excess starch. Add 1 tbsp of tomato puree. Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add a second tablespoon of the puree and leave it for another two minutes.
In a large bowl add the meat, along with the onion, rice and tomato puree mixture; add ground pepper, chopped dill, dried thymel and salt to taste. Stir well the whole mixture. Start rolling the sarmale in cabbage leaves as you see in this video:
Start adding your sarmale in a large cast iron heavy pot, preferably. Layer this pot first with some chopped sour cabbage, then add the sarmale in a concentric circle. Add some cubed smoked bacon in between the layers of sarmale. Continue these steps until you finished with all your rolls. Place a last layer of chopped cabbage over the rolls and add your liter of tomato juice on top, some bay leaves and you’re ready for the fire! Cook 2-3 hours on small-medium heat or until cabbage leaves are soft and mixture is cooked all the way through. Serve with polenta maize and sour cream. Yum!!
“Fasole batuta”White bean dip with caramelized onions
10pax / cooking time: aprox. 1h (+ 4h or overnight soaking for the beans) / difficulty: easy
1kg white beans
6 cloves of garlic
6 spoons olive oil / vegetable oil
4 spoons concentrated tomato paste
4 medium red onions
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt and little black pepper crushed
To serve – rustic bread
Soak the white beans 4h in advance in cold water or overnight. Cook them in a salted cold water for about 45 min or until soft and cooked all the way through. Can change the water half way through the cooking to allow the beans to remove their starches. After it’s cooked let it set to cool.
In a kitchen-robot or mixer, blend the cooked white beans together with all the other ingredients besides the red onions, tomato puree, 2 spoons of oil and sugar.
Blend until a white bean dip results. Should have a creamy texture and a garlicky flavor.
Slice the red onions in fine long strips. Cook in leftover oil the onions, until soft and browned, add sugar and caramelize; add your tomato concentrated puree and stir. Remove from heat.
Serve on rustic bread topped with the caramelised onions. Yummy!
“Pasca”Romanian Easter Bread
8-10pax / cooking time: aprox. 1h (+ 2h stand-by for the dough to rise) / difficulty: medium
For the Dough:
4 -5 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar 1 cup milk (warm)
2 tsp active dry yeast
3 eggs (at room temp)
2 tbsp butter (softened)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
For the Filling:
170g ricotta cheese or farmer’s cheese
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ c raisins
1 shot glass of rum
For the Dough: In a large bowl, mix together 1 +½ cup of flour, warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Cover the mixture and place it in a warm place for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly.
Separate one of the eggs, placing the whites in a separate bowl and setting it aside. (We will use this later to brush the bread before it goes into the oven.)
Once the flour and yeast mixture it’s nice and bubbly, mix in the 2 eggs and one egg yolk. Add 2 + ½ c of flour, the soft butter, vanilla, and salt. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Then, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it is smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes, adding only as much of the remaining 1 cup of flour as is necessary to keep it from sticking to your hands. (Alternately, you can mix the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer, such as a kitchen aid, fitted with a dough hook for 2-3 minutes, until it it’s smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the sides of the bowl.)
Place the dough into a clean, greased bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft free place until it has roughly tripled in bulk, 2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times. Divide the dough in half.
Press one half of the dough into the bottom of a well-buttered pan.
Divide the other half of the dough into three even pieces and roll them into thin ropes. Press one end of each of the ropes together and braid the ropes gently. Arrange the braid into a ring, connecting the two ends. Stretch the braided ring gently and place it into the spring-form pan along the outside edge of the pan.
Cover the spring-form pan with your damp tea towel and let the dough rise again in a warm, draft free place until doubled in bulk, roughly 30-40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
For the Filling: While the dough is rising, make the cheese filling by beating all of the filling ingredients (except the raisins) together with an electric hand mixer, until smooth and pour-able. Gently stir in the raisins.
In the small bowl with 1 reserved egg white, add 1 tsp water. Mix the egg whites and water together and brush the dough with the egg whites once it has risen.
Then, pour the cheese filling into the middle of the braided circle. (Only pour enough in to fill the cavity, do not let it run over.)
Bake the bread at 190C for 15min. Reduce the heat to 180C and bake for an additional 40 minutes, until the bread is nice and golden and the center is set, but still jiggles slightly.
Turn off the oven and let the bread cool in the oven for 1 hour with the door shut.
After cooling 1 hour, remove the bread from the oven and serve or let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
*For those in Barcelona, who participated at the show-cooking and are interested in purchasing the ingredients for these recipes you can refer to the following shops:
Troika Tienda Russa – Carrer de la Unió, 3, 08001 Barcelona (metro L3, ->Liceu)
MiniMix tienda Europa de Este – Carrer de la Marquesa, 7, 08003 Barcelona (metro L4, ->Barceloneta)
Thanks to those who attended my class at Cook and Travel Fest!
You can book me here for showcookings or private culinary workshops!