Monday, 30 July 2012

First cooking evening: Pickly Cucumber and red onion salad with loads of dill, Big Beefy tomato salad, Glasgow potato scone with best Scrambled Eggs & Smoked Salmon and Citrus Cheesecake Possets

Hello folks,

This was cooking day one and I am really pleased with the result, a smashing success!!

I started the day with a "jolly good clean" as you would say and cleaned the house. I am super fussy and won't cook unless the kitchen is immaculate.

Here are some pictures of my kitchen:

Then I started with the dessert: Citrus cheesecake possets. I squeezed the juice from 7 lemons, peeled one in small strips and boiled them with golden caster sugar and a vanilla pod. Before all of that I crushed almonds (blanched and toasted) and digestive biscuits together with butter and put them in nice tall glasses in the fridge. Lemons cooking, I added double cream. I must say, I am not much of a dessert person but this is superb!

For the main course I made  Glasgow potato scone with best scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. What to say? Perfection.

This dish was accompanied by 2 salads, Pickly Cucumber and red onion salad with loads of dill and the big beefy tomato salad.

If you haven't bought the book yet, please buy it. It is amazing!!!

I invited my mother in law and Ken, a friend over, along with my husband. It was a lovely evening, finished with coffee and warm hearts. Good food makes the heart grow fonder.

If you don't know how to blanche almonds here goes the tip of the day. Boil water in a saucepan, turn the heat off and add the almonds for 1 minute. If you leave longer almonds will get soggy. If you the squeeze the almonds the skin should peal off easily. That is what blanche means, remove the skins.

I am adding pictures of my cooking today.

Tomorrow I think I am cooking toad in the hole. I had a change of heart just today.

See you tomorrow,


RECIPES 2,3,4,5.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Weekend ends


This is the end of another weekend and today It was been a cooking free day. Yesterday I went shopping with my husband and got everything for this week's cooking. Tomorrow I will try 2 different recipes from the book and I have invited my mother in law and a friend to come along.

More news tomorrow.

Good night


Saturday, 28 July 2012

Shopping list

Hello everyone,

Another sunny day in Devon, all week we had the most amazing weather, It makes you feel so alive!

Today we are all having a barbecue at my mother in law's house. She lives in a small holding, there are fruit, vegetables, ducks, chicken, pigs, flowers and a superb view over the bay.

In a sunny day like that we can see the sea from a distance. It is gorgeous.

I have now to make my mind up about the recipes for next week.

I have Jamie's book in hands and I am going to choose the menus.

It is so hard to choose!!! I am looking through and all seems so delicious, I don't know where to start! As you can notice I am not much of a planner, I might decide as I go and shop daily. BestHeave move I guess.

Heavenly salmon salad
Creamed mushroom soup
Sizzling lamb lollypops
Baked creamed spinach
Citrus cheesecake possets

This is my first selection of things popping out to my eyes.

Good gastronomic experience everyone.

Have a lovely weekend!


My mother in law's farm

Friday, 27 July 2012


A summer garden.

I have lived all my life in flats. I had a remote dream that one day I would live in a house. Since I got married, I moved in a house. It is a small town house and it dates from the 18th Century (1711 to be precise). It used to be part of a farm, probably a barn and my husband told me It has been several things since, barn, slaughter house, stable and before us a music studio. Do you believe in coincidences? I am a pianist, singer, I play the harpsichord. When I first came to this house I joked with my husband when visiting the living room. There was a large spot and I pointed at it and said: what a perfect spot for a harpsichord! He then said: 'well, there was a harpsichord just there where you are pointing, this house was a music studio before and the lady was a harpsichord player.' One day I was advertising my lessons in a website and when I typed the post code in, an advert for piano, harpsichord, singing lessons in my address under another name just appears. How weird!!!

Well, what I wanted to say was, I have to do a bit of gardening, which is not something I really know how to do, even though my grandfather (who I never met before he died before I was born) was a gardener. I attempt every now and again because I do enjoy being surrounded by flowers.

Here is the result of 3 days of it. I painted the pots myself.



Classic scones with jam & clotted cream recipe - Recipes - BBC Good Food

Classic scones with jam & clotted cream recipe - Recipes - BBC Good Food

Scones, clotted cream and jam

Hello everyone,

This morning started well. I got up, had my breakfast and went straight in the kitchen. My mother in law and I picked some black currants from her bushes in the garden and I made delicious red currant jam, with a dash of Porto and gooseberry jam, also with a dash of Porto (you should try, it is delicious!) and some home baked scones.

I asked her and my husband to have these freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam and they came for lunch, they ate them with black currant and red currant jam I had previously made, with my mother in law's fruits from her garden.

It is so true, the kitchen is the heart of a home. I was gladly cooking and tidying up this morning and thinking about feminists. I have always joked about what happened to women that burned their bras...well...their boobs dropped!

I believe since we were living in caves, certain roles came naturally for men and for women. Men had physical strength, better sense of space, so they went hunting, while women stayed in the cave, with the children, feeding, nurturing, caring. I am not at all saying that women shouldn't vote, or work, because those are citizen's rights, but women should not forget that differences are there to be respected and acknowledged. Now, with busy lives, working outside their homes, inside their homes, looking after their children, looking after their husbands, women lead mad lives, children are often neglected and of course, there is no time to cook, so the ready supermarket meals are a must.

I always had freshly cooked food at home, my mother was a housewife, we never ate frozen food and very rarely food from a tin, except when it was necessary and in my family we are all good to exceptional cooks. My mum and dad are wonderful cooks (my dad is no longer with us but he was a fantastic cook), my sisters are great too and my niece is now studying gastronomy and she cooks the most amazing dishes.

I dare say I find that eating together around the table, cooking together in the kitchen (in my family we all gather together and cook together for Sunday meals, parties, etc) creates a bond between people and also creates family ties. Along with cooking, come conversations, come trying the food together, asking each other's opinions, sharing time and even making mistakes and blaming each other for them (when we are alone, who is to blame but ourselves?).

It is a shame to spoil all those beautiful moments with quick frozen/microwave dishes eaten in front of the TV. No more sharing, no more conversations, no more family life, no more flavours in the kitchen, no more rich aromas, no more oven heat warming the kitchen and our hearts. We are all missing that, children are missing that.

My great niece, who is two years old and the most adorable little girl, came over from Brazil for a month. I bought her a little apron and she helped me baking some cupcakes. How much children enjoy to stir ingredients, mix them, see the little cupcakes grow bigger in the oven. It is like little magic. She also enjoyed gardening with me and breaking old cracked pots to put at the bottom of the new planted pots. Children need that kind of attention, they want to be part of everything. In the name of 'children shouldn't work' we are taking the fun away from them, and the fun of sharing. She is very interested in everything we do, she likes standing up a chair to observe us while we cook. She is a lot of fun to be with.

Back to the cooking, I am only warming up for the serious business. The scone recipe I used is from BBC food (I won't lie) and the jams, well, I improvise putting sort of a pound of fruit for half the amount of sugar, a drip of water, a drop of Porto and a prayer!!! It usually works.

I am glad I made people happy today with my cooking, it is a laboratory for a bigger project. I will usually attach all the recipes at the end of those posts.

See you tomorrow, we are having a barbecue at my mother in law's garden with friends. Don't we love summer???



Thursday, 26 July 2012

Little ideas that might change a life

Hello everyone,

This is my second attempt to create a blog. The first one, Luce Perpetua, ended with my first post, it was meant to be a little blog of my thoughts but my lack of discipline and a busy life made me give the project up.

My life has come to a turning point. There comes a time in your life when you think you have done it all and now you are all nicely settled in a comfortable little life and all of a sudden things come to a halt and you don't know how to start again.

I haven't felt that purposeless and lost since I was probably 16, wondering what to do with my life. I loved music and wanted to be a concert pianist but I was scared of the fact that, having a relatively late start at 12, I was much too old and not good enough to be brilliant, as the competition in this domain is fierce with all those little 5 year old virtuosos around.

Then I was 16, with all my life ahead of me, now I am 46, with a lot of life behind me and maybe not as many years ahead of me.

I just don't know what to do with the rest of my life. I am a musician, mainly a singer but also a choir conductor and a pianist with some years practicing the harpsichord. I sang in a major opera theatre, in the choir for some years, I have been living in the UK for 8 years where I fulfilled two of my dreams: getting married and becoming a holistic therapist. My other major dream was to become a mother but after an unsuccessful IVI treatment (successful to start with but then I had a miscarriage) I don't know whether this dream is still possible to come true.

One of the things I love the most in my life is cooking. Last year I was giving Jamie Oliver parties and selling his products but with the recession hitting it became a little difficult to make any money at all through that activity. I was also disappointed with the parties, I thought it would involve some cooking and demonstrating the products but it didn't, it was merely a catalogue sale with really good products but people did not see the use in spending £20 for a chopping board if they could spend a fiver in a chain supermarket. I still think the products are great and not that expensive for the quality, but there you go.

I recently lost my father. I attended to him for his 3 last months of life. He was very ill, he couldn't eat, or shower, or walk, or even turn in bed. My father, my hero, who was always there for me was fading a little bit everyday and I couldn't help him or save him. It is the first time I have the courage to talk about it as the pain was so great I couldn't speak or comment or verbalise anything. As I type those lines, I have tears running all over my face. It is a feeling of helplessness that is inexplicable. No, we haven't got any control over our lives and no, we can't alleviate the pain of those who we love. We have to sit, watch and pray and hope that they are in a better place than we are, a place of rest, away from the afflictions of this world.

I tend to forget the world's afflictions when I sing or I cook or I listen to music. Cooking is the thing I probably enjoy the most. When I was in Brazil, I watched a film called Julie and Julia about a 40 year old woman who has the impression she has nothing in life and she sets herself a challenge: cook all Julia Child's cookbook recipes in one year. She starts a blog describing all her experiences and demonstrating the recipes. I asked myself, if she can do it, why can't I? My favourite chef is Jamie Oliver and I believe he is a genius. I am Brazilian, living in the UK, why not set myself a challenge, cook all Jamie Oliver's Great Britain recipes? There are 128 recipes to be cooked excluding the condiments chapter.

This is what I am going to do, but I will try to go further. I thought of doing that also to raise money for charity, so I thought I could make an event and cook for people to raise money for charity. I am elaborating it all for a while, to get set and started next week. Autumn and winter will certainly warm up hearts and tummies with the delicious British cuisine.

No matter what people say, I love British food with all its quirkiness and style.

Follow me up and you can see if I rise up to the challenge or not. I hope I will.

Many thanks