Just in Time for…

Hello You!

So, here we are enjoying one more bank holiday, perfect to seat and share a bit with you some of my last bakes and cooking! Ohh my… I did miss this…

Although I still try during the week to seat and write a post, prepare the photos etc…I normally fall asleep in the sofa even before the computer starts or I don’t even reach the sofa…

Anyway, I don’t know you but although this time of the year can seem a little depressing with dark and colder days, I have to say that I do love the calm that comes with it. With the long and hot Madrid summers I sometimes feel the pressure that we always have to be doing something outside….which I love don’t get me wrong…but the fact that it’s cold and it rains are the perfect excuses to just stay in and be relaxed!

Receive friends for dinner or lunch, try a new recipe of that booked bought months ago…or simply the smell of a sponge cake baking in the oven….nothing says comfort more than that!

So, for today and just in time for the weekend and for Bundt Cake day (yes it exists, indeed) I am sharing with you a simple and amazingly tasty winter cake recipe. 

Have a great weekend!


Roasted Pumpkin Spice Cake


After Halloween celebrations I ended up with extra pumpkin to use and while I kept thinking about soup ideas or a side dish…what I really wanted was cake! After some books and internet inspiration, I turned the oven on, roasted some pumpkin and took action! The result was a surprisingly comfort tea cake that disappeared without notice and made the joys of the man in the house….and mine too! 


  • 450 g of pumpkin cut in cubes and sprinkled with cinnamon and powder ginger
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g brown sugar
  • 100 g butter (melted)
  • 1 natural yogurt (1 pot of 125ml)
  • 250 g plain flour (sieved)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of soda bicarbonate
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
  • pinch of salt
  • some drops of orange blossom water (little coffee spoon)
  • Peel and cut the pumpkin in cubes and sprinkle it with some cinnamon and powder ginger, roast in the oven until golden and soft. Smash it with a fork until you obtain a dark orange and fragrant mixture.
  • Prepare a cake tin (either grease or use baking paper). I used a bundt cake one greased with butter and sprinkled with flour, but you can use another type of tin.
  • Whisk the pumpkin pure mixture, eggs, yogurt, sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Slowly whisk in the melted butter.
  • Add the flour sieved, cinnamon, baking soda, the orange blossom water and salt, and stir gently until just combined.
  • Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for about 40-45 min or until is cooked (when inserting a skewer in the centre it comes our clean and dry).
  • If using a bundt cake tin don’t wait too long to take the cake out, as it becomes harder to do it when is colder. 
  • Enjoy it slightly warm or cold with a nice cup of tea or coffee! It keeps very well for the day after but I’ll be surprised if it lasts!

If you like me love these season and pumpkin…try this pumpkin granola I shared last year, recipe here or the pumpkin pie (already a classic of our house).



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A Why, A Place and a Cake…


Hello YOU!!!

Gosh..How did I miss this….this little (not so much) time spent in my corner, sharing a bit of the randomness of our lives…

For long I´ve been feeling that I owe you this post, to you all, the ones that keep visiting this space, and writing me about a previous recipe shared, the lovely Gazpacho who helped you save the dinners during the heat wave, or the raw cocoa balls for the kids snacks during the holiday travels…or about a place you visited…to you all that stick there on the other side regardless of the random timelines of this blog…THANK YOU!

For all the 2017 that I kept publishing posts, either with stories, recipes, places or both, I enjoyed my time so much, I learnt more about photography, I followed several food bloggers and read and watched videos on food photography, did a lot of research on WordPress  and blogging digital platforms, started having a look on digital marketing strategies and so on…and always kept this on the side of what I thought it was an intense job search as well!

In January 2018, and after some of what were for me the weirdest interviews and long  recruiting processes ever, I felt that it was time to change my job search strategy and dedicate myself full time (meaning 8 or plus hours per day) to it! It was something I really desired…to be back to work, to be involved in a professional environment in the cancer clinical research sector and that was my drive and my moto!

It turns that an intense job search meant:

  • A full CV done from scratch using all the notes from the weird (for me) questions I got during interviews…
  • A lot of search on job postings and the language used and the differences between the interviewing processes in Spain and in the UK!
  • Many emails and calls with friends in different fields with different professional experiences including clinical research for CV comments, revisions and proof reading (I can never thank them enough)!
  • Completing endless job applications, many interviews, recruiting processes that from the first interview to the second one took many weeks!

…..and the application of the word RESILENCE to its maximum!!!

And of course…not time for blogging, it doesn’t mean I didn’t COOK, or BAKE or took pictures…I did …but not with the time and the quality I was doing before and therefore I mainly shared it with my sister :)!

Six months after my last Random S post (speaking about random publication dates!!!), here am I. Its my last day of work before going for a much-desired summer holiday…A job I am very thankful for as it’s a proof that persistency, believing and among all…learning with the experiences do take you somewhere….it just means you need to draw your path well, connect with everyone in your life and in the life of the others in your life and ask for help, and every now and then give a step back!

So, if you are, were or ever will be in this situation, don’t quit and keep looking at the meaning of the word RESILENCE!



Most of our friends here were very surprised when I told them we went for a weekend to Chinchón and I absolutely loved it!!!! Chinchón is a small Village (Pueblo) very nearby Madrid (30 minutes’ drive …first reason for me to love it), which is very picturesque, with amazing food and great places to eat (second reason to love it) and has one the most beautiful Paradores ever.


Paradores are a type of Spanish hotels which normally are inside emblematic buildings or monuments. The service is (and for all the experiences we had) amazing as is the staff and again…food!!! So, in a celebration mode for the new job and with the extreme heat in Madrid we grabbed a last-minute deal and went for it!

The Parador is gorgeous with beautiful outdoor gardens as the inside communal places. Very comfortable rooms and blessed air conditioning!!! For places to eat, the restaurant in Parador and Meson Cuevas del Vino  are a must and the last one for all the meat lovers of course!


Beside that the Plaza Mayor has a huge amount of restaurants which by night in warm summer nights light up and the atmosphere is amazing….I really enjoyed and we will Definity be back!!


We did a late check out..stayed in the swimming pool and were back home still on time to have tapas with friends and relax and prepare for the working week ahead (that’s how close to Madrid it is)!!

Burnt cheesecake – La Vina Restaurant

photo credits : delicious magazine https://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/burnt-cheesecake/

Yes! You read it well…Burnt..but please don’t allow it to put you off…it´s a must and is a recipe that I go over and over on special occasions (yes…those type of ingredients for celebration days!).

Since we moved to Spain I became (I was already) addicted to cheesecakes….the famous Tarta de Queso as it is known! If there is one on the menu I normally go for it! This one is a the recipe of the burnt cheesecake from the La Vina restaurant in the Basque Country in the north of Spain..and is AMAZING! When looking through the ingredients one may think they are very simple in taste…but the slightly burnt edges make the trick and is to die for….be careful with the sugar proportions, it is way too much, start low and add only if you need, i don’t add even half of the amount on the recipe and it’s always good! For the recipe click here.

It’s a super easy and quick recipe which you can make by using your Thermomix if you have one or a food processor or bend by hand…all work well!

 Here is a picture of the most recent one I did to celebrate my Mother’s birthday! 

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Happy Summer 


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Getting it right and Writing it Down!

Good Morning You and Happy Monday!


I hope you had a nice weekend!

Here, we kept going with the celebrations for our new status (not married, yet! please relax) and for A’s Birthday! 

We were both caught by surprise and finally tried our much desired lunch at Filandon, a restaurant in Madrid that is one of those places that between the food, service, space and the cosy decor will always impress you! 

Yesterday, as a cold and windy Sunday was the right day to bake a simple tea cake and enjoy an afternoon snack with friends that popped by! I have to say that sometimes I do have a plan for what I am going to bake, and sometimes I have no clue…and yesterday I went a bit random based on the flavours I really wanted for my tea cake (after a good nap) and a I had special request …Pears!

So, before I forget, and because this time it went so very right (in taste, in texture, in moisture and yumminess), I’ll write it down for me and for you..before I forget!

The days are indeed longer, there is more light…winter will soon enough subside ..and energies will be renewed!

Have a great week!



A Pear and Vanilla Cake


This is an ideal cake for a tea time as you can prepare it very easily in less than 1hour and serve it slightly warm…it was a success! Yes, there is sugar and butter and white flour…but we do try to keep it as a balance between healthier options and some days…like yesterday we felt we deserved it! I’ve made a similar version of this while on our New Year’s break with friends, but had apples, walnuts and cinnamon..so for now I am going to give a rest to my ‘no cinnamon’ fans and I’ll share it with you another day!


  • 150g butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 a medium pear (shredded)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
  • 150g self-raising flour (sifted)

for the top

  • 1 & 1/2 medium pears 
  • demerara sugar to sprinkle


  • Preheat oven to 180ºC and prepare a loaf cake tin (either grease or use baking paper).
  • Beat the butter with the sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy and then add the eggs, one at a time.
  • Add the lemon rind, half of one pear (peeled and cored) shredded and the vanilla.
  • Sieve the flour into the mixture and fold it gently to not remove the air from the dough, so it is light and fluffy when baked.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin, top it with the rest of the pears (peeled, cored and sliced) arrange as you like and sprinkle some demerara sugar. 
  •  Bake for 30 minutes or until is golden and when inserting a skewer in the centre it comes our clean and dry. 
  • Enjoy it slightly warm or cold with a nice cup of tea or coffee!



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The Favourite Cake…for Him!

Good Morning You!!!

…and thank you so much for all your greetings to our A. yesterday on his day

 As promised yesterday, here is the daily share of what was the choice of birthday cake (his favourite of all times). When I think of birthday cake, I think of several layers of sponge with some kind of frosting…but not him! At any event, any Sunday…he always asks for ……….. A Tarte Normande!


I know it’s quite a special one, a recipe from the chef John Burton Race and his book Flavour First, a book I treasure very much from my London times! Still… is an Apple Tart….for a birthday cake???? Ok! Tarte Normande will be!

Deep inside I did feel some joy as it’s a recipe I know by heart and I can bake it quickly…still I ended the baking a bit too late and with the rainy and dark day the light conditions to photograph were in fact not the best…sincere apologies!

Although a simple recipe with simple ingredients I am always so surprised by how good it is…and somehow I end up understanding why do A. likes it so much….it’s the simplicity of the flavours that make your taste buds super happy…and if you follow my Instagram  in the stories you could see that was almost finished by the time dinner was over…if you don’t follow you are always in time to do it :)!

The cold weather came back to Madrid and there are predictions of snow again, so if wherever you are you are aiming for a cosy weekend, this is the perfect recipe to bake to go with your nice cup of tea or coffee…or breakfast like we did today (OMG!)

Have a good weekend


Tarte Normande 


Although I use exactly the same ingredients and procedure as described in the John Burton Race recipe I feel that for a normal Tart tin (25cm) some adjustments in the amount of cream need to be made as it can be to little for the amount of apples. So here is what I have been doing for years…

Please don’t be afraid of doing your own dough…this is a recipe that always works out very well without too much fuss and it makes so much of a difference when the dough is hand made…so go ahead and give it a try! Also…use good butter, Lurpak, Président or the Spanish brand Asturiana special for cakes are very good options!


for the pastry

  • 220g plain flour, some extra for dusting
  • generous pinch of sea salt
  • 100g of butter, diced 

for the filling

  • 6 apples (cored and cut into large segments)
  • 200ml of cream (double cream is normal what I use)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • pinch of ground cinnamon (it’s a very subtle flavour but if you are not a fan take it out)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon

to finish

  • 30g butter, diced
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar (that’s what I use, but you can do with caster sugar)
  • icing sugar to dust (if you want)


  • To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl, add the butter (at room temperature) and rub into the flour, using your finger tips until you have a crumbly consistency. Gradually mix in enough water (4-5 tbsp) to bind the mixture. When the dough starts to come together, gather with your hand and knead gently until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface more or less to a 5mm thickness and use to line a 25 cm tart tin. Leave to rest in the fridge, loosely cover with cling film.
  • Meanwhile prepare the filling and pre-heat the oven to 200ºC. Peel and core the apples and cut into large segments. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, salt and lemon zest.
  • Arrange the apples segments evenly in the pastry case and pour the cream mixture over it. Place the tart tin in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. After this time the dough should be cooked and golden and the cream and apples turned into a yellow and golden cooked filling.
  • Take out of the oven and dot little pieces of butter over the surface and sprinkle the brown sugar over it and return to oven for 5 minutes to caramelise. 




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Today is Yours! Happy Birthday my A.

Mariana Sabido-3

Today this cute face (the one on the left) completes one more year of Life! 37 years from which 20 are mine…well, ours to say it better!!!

You likely drive me crazy with anger as much (a bit less) as you make me laugh…and then I lean in on you, pass you my pains and I can breath again…and I know that it makes you breathless but you make sure I know you can handle it better…and so we go! So many times we broke together or alone but never apart, we picked up pieces and tided up the mess life leaves behind sometimes.

You are the sweetest father I could ever asked for my child and seeing you growing as one it makes me proud every day…and the moments when you come back home and make T smile from inside his guts will always be Perfect…so for us, even if some days we don’t say it or feel it as much, you are indeed Perfect!

So, until the wheels come off baby….on this day, there will always be cake (your favourite) and January will always always be special!

Happy Birthday!

Have a beautiful day!


PS: And as for you there on the other side…I promise to update you on the latest recipes I have been baking and on our slow start of 2018!


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A Merry & Healthy Christmas – New Spot in Town

Good Morning!

For a while now, I wanted to share this project with you…And because sometimes things turn in different ways, this was in fact the perfect moment…Christmas!


As if there was not enough reasons to like and visit Lisbon (amazing city, the yellow trams, beautiful museums, the sea side, high end restaurants, gorgeous shops and the list goes on), we now have an extra one!!!

Located in the heart of Lisbon, The Club Life to Go arrived by the hands of my dear friend Teresa and is here make your lunch, coffee/tea times…and your Christmas Jolly Healthier….Yes!!

Apart from her extreme good taste and love for food, Teresa is an amazing cook and makes the best chestnut soup you will ever taste in your life…More importantly she dared to bring this idea all the way across the Atlantic and with a full team of professionals they dedicate their time thoroughly planning, preparing and testing fresh meals every day! 

There is also the care of adapting some traditional Portuguese recipes to be made with organic ingredients, low carbs, no sugar and with lactose and gluten free options…and Christmas was not an exception…prepared for mouthwatering?

Low Carb PanettoneChocolate
Low Carb PanettoneFruits and Lemon drizzle
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Typical for Christmas – Broas Castelares gluten free and sweetened with dates and agave nectar
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Typical for Christmas- Azevias 

So, either if you live in Lisbon, or are planning a visit or while you enjoy the Lisbon Christmas decorations and perhaps some shopping why not to do a pause, see a friend for lunch or coffee and enjoy one of these gems and so many other options available. 

And while you are there…if you see Teresa, go and say Hi for me!! 

Follow them on Instagram and you can see their fresh menu table everyday! They are just celebrating their 10K followers and until Saturday 16th December  there is a code for discount…check it here.

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Almond Milk Hot Chocolate – no sugar added and a Broa Castelar 

The Random SSs Suggestions for Christmas 

  • Take a Panettone or two as a dessert for your Christmas dinners and lunches (friends and/or work). If you like, you can give your own touch and personalise with a card, a nice card box or bag and some Christmas ribbon. 
  • Do the same with little boxes and add Broas Castelares and Azevias for a coffee or tea at a friend’s house.
  • If planning Christmas baskets with some goods to offer, why not to add these Panettones  and a box of Broas and Azevias for the Christmas day sweets table? Family and Friends will thank you!!! Mine are already reserved!!!
  • There are also some little Cod Cakes which will be amazing as a starter for the Christmas Eve dinner which will leave your guests taste buds jolly happy!
  • And….Enjoy!
  • …..and for the after Christmas…there are always the detox juices.

More ideas for Lunch…just saying..



Additional Notes

Website: http://www.clublifetogo.com/ here

In Lisbon: Av. Elias Garcia 84, 1050-053 Lisboa, Portugal

Make orders to take home: teresa.lopes@clublifetogo.com

On Instagram: clublifetogo.lisboa follow here 

On the Portuguese media:

Observador here

Evasões here


*All photos are owned by The Club Life to Go and fully authorised to be published in Susana Random Ss

Christmas Series: Post #1 Cookies

Hello Again!
What a way to start this Random Ss Christmas Series …it had to be with Cookies of course, what else? Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked cookies, and these ones smell heavenly when baking.
My Christmas memories are very associated with food, on the days before Christmas our kitchen became a production line with three different generations kneading and rolling dough and baking cakes and pies. The smell of cinnamon was such that you could smell it from outside of the house…and was almost a tradition to run out of it and beg to whoever showed up at the door to do a supermarket run for a couple of packs more!
Last year, when looking for some more healthy alternatives for the kids, my sister shared with me this recipe of Cinnamon and Ginger Cookies from the blog Made by Choices. We both prepared them for the family cookies bag and they where a success, and since then I have made them not only for Christmas but all year round. For the less appreciative of cinnamon (I know you are there) I have a little tip for you below.
The dough is easily and quickly prepared using a food processor and if you don’t eat the dough raw as myself and T did (is so tasty), you will have enough for around 40 cookies which will already allow for some cute nice Christmas bags to share.

Some Christmas Ideas/Tips:

  • Use cute Christmas cookie cutters, invest in some different ones they will last you for a long time if not forever. Stars, ginger man, leaves, snowmen….
  • Make little bags of cookies to share. You can use some transparent bags (so you can see the nice cute shapes) and close with some Christmas ribbon, there are beautiful ones. When setting the table for a Christmas dinner or lunch put one bag next to everyone’s plate, people can choose to take it home or just have it with coffee or a cup of tea after the meal. If there are kids they will eat them immediately.
  • If you want to offer them for Christmas, it’s better to invest on a nice airtight container jar so they can keep nice and crispy for longer. 
  • There are beautiful bags and ribbon to make cute presents, one thing I tend to do is to always buy different ones at the end of the season when all goes on sale and keep it for the next year! 

Some links that might help you with your Christmas decorations and baking utensils:

  1. Maria Lunarillos Spain, My new find and I am in love!
  2. Docinho de Açucar Portugal, Will be love at first sight…
  3. LakelandUK, All you need for your cooking experiences 
And you?  What are your Christmas Traditions, what do you bake, cook, eat?
And don’t forget….

 Cinnamon & Ginger Cookies 


If you are not a big or at all of cinnamon, here is an idea..replace it and the ginger by unsweetened cocoa and use roasted hazelnuts instead of the almonds. Chocolate taste and hazelnuts can never fail! Yummy!


  • 2 cups (220g) oat flour
  • ½ cup (60g) raw almonds
  • 1 cup (150g) pitted dates (I used medjol dates)
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  • In a food processor (normal one, a thermomix, Bimby, etc.) add all ingredients and blend until the dough begins to clump up around the blade.
  • Remove the dough out of the processor and and hand knead until smooth, you may have to use a little bit of flour.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll the dough.
  • With cookie cutters (in whatever shape you want) cut and place on the baking tray.
  • Bake until they are golden (15 to 20minutes).
  • Let them cool and harden.
  • Store in a glass container up 2 weeks.


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The Random Ss Christmas Series …


Hello you! 

After a busy November, we finally have our Christmas decorations on! It seems that every year people start earlier and earlier, but I confess that with T’s birthday and Thanksgiving, I cannot switch my Christmas alarm until early days of December…so when friends told me that they had it all done, including presents by the 1st of December, I think for seconds I had a panic attack!!!

For us at home, when growing up, was on the bank holiday of the 8th of December that the old card boxes would come out of the attic, garage, wardrobes and so on, we tested the lights of the year before and there was always either something baking in the oven or a Bolo Rei (a traditional season cake in Portugal) freshly bought so we could have it for tea!

This year, and totally by chance, as we had to exchange our first pine tree, we officially opened the Christmas season at the V&C’s exactly on the 8th of December, with  cinnamon and ginger cookies baking in the oven and to the sound of All I want for Christmas is you..with T jumping and dancing and fighting his dad attempts to change to his Christmas jazz playlist…So, I jumped as well and for moments I forgot the hidden mess behind this picture (vacuum cleaner included).

And as for this Random space of mine and yours…and in a season that I treasure with all my heart, I planned some posts (as random as you can expect) dedicated to Christmas which I hope you enjoy and maybe help you with some ideas!

Until then…and in the middle of all that seems we are obliged to do during this season…don’t forget to enjoy and that Presence is, more than ever, the most important thing!  



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And our Sweet November Finishes with…

…A Cold and with very (very) cold weather!

It seems that a freezing cold front is underway and finally winter hit Madrid, it is snowing in most of the cities up north and the breezy and very cold days combined with the dozen of snotty red noses in T’s classroom, that every morning come and say hello and sometimes ask for a kiss were a lethal combination…not for them…but for Me!

So, I am indeed finishing this sweet November of ours with a cold and yesterday was an evening for comfort food!

For me the term of comfort food means something that warms your body  and soul, that cooks easily  with nourishing ingredients and that you can eat with a spoon seated on the sofa with a blanket…if this is not comfort what is?


So the only thing I wanted was T in bed, a shower, a sofa and a blanket and a bowl of this winter soul warmer Red Lentil Coconut Dahl…It also brought me memories … the first time I had a homemade Dhal was at my friends Kelly G house, I can so well remember the smell and cosiness I felt on that afternoon…and the laughs! But yesterday when cooking this recipe was my sweet friend and London neighbour E. that popped into my mind…I remember well the first time I cooked this at home, I immediately knew it had her name on it and from downstairs to upstairs I shared a picture and the recipe…Food and Memories…what a bliss!

Thank you November for all you brought us, for all the Celebrations and Happiness …may December start with the same calm and sweetness!  

If ever in need of comfort, or not…cook this!


Red Lentil Coconut Dhal 


I have cooked this several times and I  now do it slightly by eye, but below you have the recipe adapted from the blog The Minimalist Vegan; I use olive oil instead of the coconut oil as the coconut milk is already enough as a flavour but you can use it if wished. I also add some smoked paprika and chilli flakes and serve it with a drizzle of lemon juice which I find to combine perfectly with the coriander and light coconut silky texture of the dhal


  • cooked basmati or Jasmine rice to serve (I had it with brown rice which is nice as well)
  • olive oil (enough cover the sauce pan)
  • 1 red or brown onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, diced and peeled (if in a rush you can use canned ones)
  • 400g split red lentils (soaked for about an hour and washed)
  • 1 can coconut milk (400ml)
  • 500 ml of warm water (may need more if too dry)
  • Salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • Chili flakes
  • Handful coriander, roughly chopped
  • Drops of lemon juice to serve


  • In a sauce pan heat the olive oil, onion, paprika, chilli flakes and fresh ginger on medium heat until they soften and start slowly browning.
  • Add in the tomato and simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the lentils, coconut milk and half of the water. Simmer in medium heat and stir occasionally. Cook until all the lentils have turned yellow, softened and cooked through. You may need to add some more water if it’s getting too dry. Do this slowly so you can have a smooth dahl and not too dry or to liquid.
  • Season to taste and toss through the coriander at the end.
  • Serve with the cooked rice, some drops of lemon juice and a dash of smoked paprika.

Enjoy the Comfort



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We Call it Giving Thanks…and Pie!


Some years ago, 5 to be exactly, life hit us with one of its tricks to make us put all in perspective. The expression “health is what matters” definitely made sense for us from then on and Thanksgiving day came by on a month of recovery and new life…our memories are somehow a bit blurry but the feelings of respect for life, family, friends and the day to day are very clear!

Since November 2012, we use every single occasion to celebrate (I am sure you’ve noticed!!) and exactly on Thanksgiving day of 2012 somehow the world turned in a way that our London flat became packed with friends, some from there, some that just wanted to go and check on us, some passing by and we finished at late hours of the day in a tiny kitchen eating turkey leftovers. Since then wherever we are, either a big party or like yesterday just the three of us we seat calmly at the dinner table and Give Thanks, to life for a before and after, for the the family and friends but mainly for our(s) Health!

And of course, we have turkey, and sweet potatoes, and brussels sprouts…and Pumpkin Pie!

So either if you are planning a weekend Thanksgiving party, a dinner with friends or just a cosy weekend at home…take advantage of the gorgeous pumpkin season and try this Pie with your cup of tea or coffee and Enjoy!

Have a Happy Weekend



Pumpkin Pie


I have done this pie over and over again for the last 5 years, but never had an opportunity to photograph it as normally we straight away cut a piece of it while is still warm….yammy! Finally, yesterday I managed to bake it during the day and was able to make some photos while I was alone and before T arrived from school and stuck his little fingers on the pumpkin filling!!!

These last days have not been the best to make photos as the weather is becoming darker and the days shorter and we are all still praying for raining days to stop this dry season once for all!


After repeating the recipe many times, this is now a final version according with the V&C household taste buds. It has the perfect taste of a nutty and sweet butternut squash with a hint of orange and fresh ginger, a perfect mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg on a crunchy buttery vanilla dough base. Not too sweet…it’s just a simple but perfect pie with the right flavours for this time of the year! 

For the dough base, I use a Jamie Oliver recipe which works all the time,  easy, tasty and crunchy. The pie filling is my interpretation of Billy Law Pumpkin pie recipe on A Table for Two blog and it’s the final version so you can really feel the pumpkin and orange taste and not to be overwhelmed with spices. 


for the pie dough 

  • 150 g unsalted butter , (cold), plus extra for greasing
  • 250 g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • semi-skimmed milk

for the pumpkin filing  

  • 500g pumpkin, I used butternut squash cubed and cooked – If you want cook some more use it to bake some Granola check the recipe here
  • orange peel (half of a medium orange)
  • piece of fresh ginger (1 cm cube)
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste


  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Lightly grease a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin.
  • Cut the butternut squash into little cubes and put in a sauce pan with the orange peel and the fresh ginger, cover with water and cook until it’s soft.
  • To make the pastry, cut the butter into little cubes and place in a food processor with the flour, icing sugar and a pinch of sea salt. 
  • Add the vanilla bean paste to the food processor mix and then pulse to fine crumbs.
  • Crack in the egg, add a splash of milk, then pulse until it forms a rough dough.
  • Bring the dough together on your kitchen bench, use some flour if needed, make a ball with it and then wrap in clingfilm and keep it in the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour.
  • In a clean flour-dusted surface, roll out the pastry until it’s around 1/2cm thick, then loosely roll up around the rolling pin and unroll over the tart tin, easing it in and pushing it carefully into the sides.
  • Trim off any excess pastry, patch up any holes, then prick the base with a fork, cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Bake blind (cover with some baking paper and put some rice or some beans to hold the paper) for 10 minutes then remove the paper and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until lightly golden, then leave to cool.
  • While the dough cools down, rinse the pumpkin mixture and blend it all (ginger and orange peel included) until a soft silky purée is obtained. Cook the purée on fry pan for 10 minutes or just enough to remove a bit of the water that stays after blending and leave it to cool.
  • In another sauce pan over medium heat, add the sugar, cream, cinnamon and nutmeg, stir well until all is well combined and bring to boil, remove from heat. 
  • In a bowl, gently beat the eggs and the yolk (I do this by hand) and slowly pour the hot cream mixture while still whisking. Add the pumpkin purée and if wanted (I always do) add another little of vanilla bean paste. 
  • Pour the pumpkin and cream  mixture into the cooled pastry tin and bake for 40 minutes. The centre should be just set. Remove and set aside to cool. We normally eat a slice while still slightly warm…Enjoy!


  • You can use canned pumpkin purée, but with the beautiful season pumpkin it is really worth the effort. 
  • You can also make the dough by hand it also works very well it just takes a little bit longer. 
  • If you are in for an indulgent dessert serve a piece of the pie with some nice warm vanilla custard!!



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Yes! Mummy messed up your Bday Cake…


…because Moms get it wrong as well…more often than we would like to!

In between the plans, all the recipes checked, decorations, invitations, food, balloons…your so wanted Batman Chocolate Cake was far from perfect…but while you stood still, waiting for your Batman mask to be painted, I could see in your big little dark eyes that all was OK…and the almost panic situation the hours before on the attempts to pipe some frosting didn’t mean anything!

And by the time I tucked you in just before the long day finished, I asked you: Did you like your party? What did you like the most? ….Batman Cake, Mummy….

In a blink, the cake, my lack of a fresh manicure and the fact I didn’t even had the opportunity to take a good picture of the 3 of us…vanished! 

Bless you my Son and Happy 3rd Birthday!




Sometimes is just too much…Keep it Simple, Smile and Enjoy!



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1 Year…12 Months and 12 Reasons Why…

madrid 1

26 October 2016 

….I can now call Madrid …Home! A Sequel of  Madrid #1 – 6 Months After


October 2017

  1. I overuse the word ¨vale¨ in replacement of OK and I consider myself fluent in Spanish although with some disagreement of the male expert of the V&C household (LOL)!
  2. I eat more eggs than I ever did in my life … Tortillas, with Aspargus, Gulas, Revueltos with Jamón, little quail ones on top of tapas…you name it!
  3. It takes me at least 10 minutes to walk down the road of our neighbourhood (20 with T to be clear)….between all the catch up with neighbours and store owners to whom T calls “Amigos” (friends)!
  4. I use red lipstick on a daily basis even to the most simple occasions…like putting the rubbish away (ahahah)!
  5. I feel slightly cold and wear a winter jacket on a 20ºC sunny day…(what??? I could wear sandals on a day like that in London)!
  6. I can now have lunch at 3pm on weekends and go out for dinner at 11pm….although it still makes me slightly nervous…and 11.30pm definitely pushes my boundaries!
  7. I may be addicted the “Siesta” …the weekend naps … (OMG…I know)…but in summer it makes so much sense…and I am now looking forward for the winter ones!
  8. I stopped with the 10 years of brain wash of British politeness and adopted the Spanish way of shouting when driving and when entering a bus with a pram and full of people not giving the way! Regarding the driving…let’s say I feel blessed every day when parking the car safely and sound….ohh and I will always refuse to cross red signal lights and park the car in random places in the middle of the road!
  9. I dream with the weekend “Aperitivo” and the expectation of which tapas will come as a complementary to my beer…although I am very happy with a bowl of crips…but a little plate of a freshly done “Paella” was the top until now!
  10. I have my very own list of favourite places….to eat, to shop, to have coffee, to buy bread, to do walks, a favourite museum (the Thyssen Bornemisza by far) and a favourite supermarket which for someone that likes eating, cooking and baking can be a good safe heaven!
  11. I have adopted the Kings Day on the 6th of January as another celebration to our year calendar….why not? Another special day to have friends, cook and eat around the table and share a little present? Yes please!

But most importantly and having been away from native Home for a while now… we have the People, the ones we call our Madrid Family, whom we can count with always, who can lean in for us…. and as for the other ones…the ones we left behind…well…lets say we have had a good amount of visits and promises of future ones, always with the same energy, friendship and dedication as we have never left!

…So today for us, is a special day, and there will be Cake…of course…what else? A Cake that came with a visit…and a couple reasons more…Keep tuned! 



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We are (fast) going…Pumpkins!!!

Hello You!

The day I heard the expression “I am going Bananas” for the first time, I knew that it would remain with me forever…and believe me, I go “Bananas” more often than I would like to…although life is teaching me to just simply let go and enjoy the peace that comes with it!


This was one of the last pictures of us three during the summer holidays. A visit we did to the beautiful and precious village of Sintra in Portugal. I so much wanted to be able to photograph and prepare a nice post for you about it, but the only thing I can say is that I did run behind T up and down the Pena Palace inside and outside and speed photos are definitely not my expertise :).


I felt deeply frustrated but it’s just a question of managing expectations really…and in the end I gave up and enjoyed the cute  pictures (not amazing or very professional) of a very very nice day out. Eventually, he succumbed to his dad strong arms without running away and gave us a sweet happy memory of our summer holidays! 

Since then, the days passed fast…routines are settled, the house is getting cosier, the kitchen has warmer smells and the recent chilly mornings make the summer memories fade….but that’s ok with us, we are ready for the winter jackets, the warmth of the winter cooks and movies under blankets on the sofa!

We had many months of hot (too hot) sun, nights on the balcony, dinners outside with friends until early hours of the day, swimming pool play, beach with family and friends…and now the V&C household prepares for the most exciting and happy month for us 3! November month will bring us the birthday of the birthdays and our so beloved Giving Thanks dinner….so my mind is not going “Bananas” at all….but rather going Pumpkins with so many ideas…yes and as all with me always goes back to food…I also have a seasonal mind!!

Get ready to be surprised with the most amazing combination of flavours that will make your Fall Breakfasts an inspiration and of course it had to come from my beloved Pinch of Yum!

Have a great Fall…


Pumpkin Granola


Yes, indeed you read correctly! Pumpkin Granola….that’s right! Imagine having the crunchy feeling of a sweet spicy pumpkin pie with a last feeling of saltiness in your mouth…..Oh God!

Definitely a favourite for this time of the year…and the smell of the house while baking is to die for…thank you Pinch of Yum …you definitely know how to make comfort cosy recipes. I made some adaptations with the ingredients I had at home and it was super super yammy….so much that I had to share it with you and also did prepare some little jars for friends here!





  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1 heaping cup sliced almonds
  • 1 heaping cup hazelnuts
  • 1 heaping cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (see notes in how to make your own)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 2-3 tsp salt 
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds
  • Handful of linen seeds 


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Mix the dry ingredients together (oats, almonds, hazelnuts and coconut). Whisk the wet ingredients and spices together (pumpkin puree, olive oil, honey, salt, cinnamon). Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Spread the granola into a large tray with some baking paper. Bake for 15 minutes and then stir and bake for an extra 15 minutes until nice and gold. Remove from the oven and let rest – it should start to crisp up.
  • Store in a plastic zip-top bag for a week or so or on a good vacuum sealed container. Serve with yogurt, fruit or simply snack on it dry as it’s so so good!


  • You can use canned pumpkin puree, but with the beautiful season pumpkin you can simply boil some pieces of nice fresh squash with some orange peel until all is cooked. Drain it and blend into a nice silky orange colour puree. I always cook mine from fresh, for this recipe, for cakes, pies…it is really worth the effort. 
  • The salt seems a bit too much but as Lindsay explains in POY post it kind of mix with the sweet and you only feel it at the end and it’s very nice!



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A Little Note to Navigation…


…I´m still here, but a bit hidden!

Preparing for the Autumn that has arrived, making the house cosier for the winter days (yes, after almost 1 year there are still many things to be done, spaces that need more life and new energy, photos to be hanged on the walls and pieces of furniture to be re-touched), experimenting recipes with the season produce…and Oh my…expect a lot from the next months: pumpkin, apples, pearstarts, cakes, roasts….I just don’t like the cold and the rain but there is much to love about this new season!

If you missed the last post with the start of school and a yummy but healthy banana bread, I have now uploaded on my Pinterest account here and added a tip that will take this recipe to another level, go and check it! You can also see it on the recipes page on the blog!

Also, if you follow my Instagram account (if you don’t, you definitely should), I posted a picture of some Madeleines that I did for T’s school snacks, very easy and a quick recipe based on Jocooking Blog .

You can now check the full recipe here


Have a beautiful day!



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New Starts! Me, You and the Ss

Finally!!! We are back

…and I mean, myself and this random little space of mine and you!

  It feels so good to stop for a while and be back to writing and sharing! Back Home, back to school (yes, not nursery anymore..how did this happen?), back to routines, back to baking and me back here seated and sharing with you!



The other day a good friend was saying how she felt that for her the begging of a new year was now…not in January when the weather is grey and cold and when we realise we ate and spent way too much over the Christmas season! She made me think about this for a while…and that’s exactly the feeling I have had these first days back, after over a month away from Home…well, we were just on another Home..but you get me!

So here is a S for new Starts, for us getting back to life and routines, for the lunches and dinners with friends and experiences shared, for new goals and aims, to these resilient kids of ours and their first days of school and to us parents trying to do our best everyday!

Have a great year…and I’ll keep seeing you around!


A Healthy and Simple Banana Bread 


One of the things that most makes me stress during the morning is T’s breakfast, this idea of feeding him well for a good start of the day but at the same time being something that he likes very much so he goes through it quickly without us having to almost beg for him to hurry up!

So, here is one recipe that is a hit for all of us, an easy Banana Bread with almond and oats flours, linen seeds and coconut oil…if you use good sweet very ripe bananas it’s even more yummy! The recipe is from JoCooking blog, a blog that I go very often for nice and nutritional healthy recipes and advice for all the family! This is also a good idea for an after school snack as well….


And as for you…toast a slice, add a little bit of butter if you dare and enjoy with a good cup of coffee or tea!



  • 3 very ripe bananas 
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla flavour or vanilla bean paste 
  • 170g almond flour (or 100g almond flour and 70g of oats flour)
  • 30g golden linen seeds flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of soda bicarbonate
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of cinnamon..just because (optional)


  • Put all ingredients into the food processor and blend it all until a cake mixture forms. Leave one of the bananas aside so you can use to decorate on top of the cake. You can also use a hand blender to mix all ingredients, I have done it like that while on holiday and was as good!
  • Pour the cake mixture into a loaf tin lined with baking paper, slice the banana set aside in longitudinal slices and use it at the top of the cake for decoration.
  • 30-40 min at 180°C or until golden.
  • You can use a bit of honey to glaze the top if you wish, I did was was yummy! I have also used a pinch of cinnamon just because… 




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Madrid Sights and a Tip for a day out!


Hello you!

This week we start this random space with a Tip for a Madrid visit!

What a beautiful morning we had yesterday! 

I have been wanting to go and take T to the Madrid Cable Car (Teleférico de Madrid) for a while, and yesterday despite the very warm weather we decided and bought the tickets online one hour in advance and headed there…and what a beautiful and fun plan to do both with or without kids! 


The cable car trip takes around 10 minutes from Paseo de Pintor Rosales to the Casa de Campo park contemplating some of Madrid most iconic places! I loved the views from the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral and the contrast with the other side of the city with the Madrid big modern towers. During the trip there is a recording that tells you a bit more about the places you are passing by and some brief history! 


Upon arrival to Casa de Campo park apart from a café with a panoramic view from Madrid you also have a kids playground under the shadow of pine trees which makes the joys of the little ones and the cherry on top of the cake after a ride on the “little houses” as T called the cable cars.


 We will definitely be back, likely with a picnic basket when the weather cools down. Nevertheless, the Pintor Rosales street is full of nice places to have a drink and an aperitivo and restaurants. You can also head for a nice tortilla tapas to txirimiri which is very close by. I have finally tried their tortilla and yes, it’s now on my top 10 of the best tortillas in Madrid! 

You can also take advantage and visit the Oeste Park with the famous Debod Temple and the beautiful Roses Garden and enjoy one of the most amazing sunset views from Madrid!

Some Information for you to consider

Website: http://teleferico.com/en

Always check online before you go as there is plenty of information about the trips and how to reach it (metro and buses). Buy the tickets online to avoid queues. Return ticket is 5,90eur and kids under 3 years don’t pay. 


Parking can be tricky, so if you are going on a weekend specially if it’s sunny with all the places to drink and eat outside it can become very busy, but there is metro near by and also buses going there.

Additional Activities

You can also take advantage and visit the Oeste Park with the famous Debod Temple and the beautiful Roses Garden enjoy one of the most amazing sunset views from Madrid 



Live, Eat and Travel


Another one of my Sister Breakfast Gems

Hello you!

As you know most of the recipes I share with you are surrounded by stories of whatever kind…Today I share with you another one of my Sister Breakfast Gems: A Crepioca!


Every time I stay over at my sister’s house when I am in Lisbon, she always welcome us with new breakfast ideas: some banana flourless pancakes for the children (ones that only her can flip over, I can’t and don’t really know why!) and either some of her fresh baked granola or her delicious dark chocolate porridge remember the recipe?

This last time she asked me if I wanted to have a Crepioca with yogurt; sure, why not? I said! Literally 5 minutes after, I had a plate of what looked a nice golden crepe filled with yogurt, avocado slices and berries and I could feel the smell of the coconut oil from the kitchen. I told her...how come did you do this already? I just saw you get up of bed 5 minutes ago…she smiled and said: well, it only takes you 5 minutes to make!

And another one of her new breakfast ideas was in and finished with a fresh cup of coffee made and brought in by her sweet Italian neighbour…what else?

Have a nice weekend


Crepioca for Breakfast


Crepioca is a gluten free crepe made with manioc starch (Polvilho Doce in Portuguese, from the mandioca), literally in 5 minutes and you can top it to taste. So quick and so delicious!

For breakfast today, I chose to add some natural yogurt, sliced avocado, raspberries, toasted hazelnuts and some pumpkin seeds. For breakfast is nice to add some cinnamon and vanilla flavour to the dough, but in case you want to use it for a light lunch, just add some salt and pepper instead and top it for example with fresh ricotta cheese or cottage cheese and some sauteed mushrooms and spinach.


for 1 larger crepe or 2 smaller ones

  • 1 Egg (medium)
  • 1 tbsp manioc starch (polvilho doce)
  • pinch of cinnamon & vanilla flavour
  • coconut oil or any other mild flavour oil

Serving options:  (natural yogurt, avocado, seeds and nuts, berries and other fruits). For the salty option (salt and pepper) and toppings (ricotta or cottage cheese, sauteed mushrooms and spinach).


  • In a bowl bit the egg, add the tapioca flour, cinnamon and vanilla if adding. 
  • In a non sticking pan melt the oil and pour the egg mixture. 
  • When starting to make bubbles (it’s very quick) and you feel you can flip it, flip it over to cook on the other side until nice and golden.
  • Transfer to a plate and add your topping options. Enjoy!


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A Summer Bake…and another year that came to and End!

Oh my in a blink June has passed!

The academic year came to an end, schools are now closed…there is less traffic in the morning and my usual coffee shop (where I am actually seated right now) is quieter. No parents in a hurry asking for a coffee with milk or a colacao (very Spanish like) and sharing the most recent achievements of their kids!

Our T did so well, after a rush move and a start already in the middle of the academic year, we were so happy with the feedback and the way he settled, made friends and became used to a new life, new rules and more importantly to a new language! Very soon, a deserved rest and a summer full of sun, water play, family and friends….and another chapter on his childhood memories to be written!


We have felt the sudden rush of the holidays and the list of tasks to do and finish before leaving has increased by the day…and believe me some of them are extremely boring…oh well! 

Speaking about summer childhood memories, one of the things that always sends me back in time is the smell and taste of summer fruits: cherries, melon, peaches and apricots…I very often have these memories of my mom, seated outside peeling yellow sweet peaches, with the juices running down her hands and slicing them to share between my sister and me!

So, today I am sharing with you some of my favourite summer flavours and likely the most random recipe you will see in this blog! It’s a must and you will see why below!

Happy Weekend 


A Summer Fruit Bake 


I did an early visit to the market and the nectarines, apricots and plums were what caught my eye, but you can just do a tray mix of what you most prefer. You can either add honey or brown sugar and the vanilla and cinnamon are optional, although I believe it combines perfectly with the fruits and the zest. You can also use lime zest instead of lemon.



You can also make something similar if using the barbecue; simply by halving the fruits and grill them, add some honey, some toasted almonds and serve warm with ice cream…voila a summer quick and tasty dessert! We had ours last night with lemon ice cream…and this morning I have topped the left overs with some greek yogurt…yummy!


  • Nectarines
  • Apricots
  • Red Plums
  • Flower Honey or light brown sugar (to taste)
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional)
  • Vanilla bean paste (optional)
  • Oats flakes
  • Almonds
  • Lemon zest (or lime)
  • Rosemary or lemon thyme

Serving options: serve warm or cold with lemon or vanilla ice cream or some greek yogurt, add some more zest before serving with you like it more tangy


  • Pre-heat the oven to 170 ºC. 
  • Halve the fruits and take the stone out, sprinkle the sugar or honey on top (taste the fruits before for natural sweetness and sugar it accordingly).
  • Add the vanilla, the cinnamon sticks, the almonds, the oats flakes, the zest and rosemary or thyme depending on what you are using.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until soft and golden.
  • Serve warm or cold with some ice cream or greek yogurt.



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A Creamy, Smooth and Delicious Gazpacho

Hello Friday, Hello You!

I told you before that I am not a big fan of the Spanish cold type of soups, right?

Well, the fact is that the weather is so warm that I arrive at the end of the day so tired with the heat that my survival kit is based on cold salads and watermelon…until yesterday!

When last week I found that the sweet Hemsley Sisters prepared a Gazpacho recipe including fresh herbs and avocado, I thought to myself…And if I try to do my own instead of the stored bought one?

And voilá…A fresh, smooth, very tasty Gazpacho to refresh and bright our summer meals!


I believe we are all still heading for a hot weekend, so either for your own home or to take it to a friends gathering, a picnic or a barbecue, try this recipe…Simply my blending all ingredients and seasoning to taste!

Happy Weekend


A Creamy and Smooth Gazpacho

I followed the Hemsley+Hemsley recipe, with the exception that I roasted the red pepper for a nice kind of smoky flavour! The good thing of this recipe is that you can blend all the ingredients together and while you go along you can season to taste, add more lemon juice, vinegar, salt or pepper.



  • 8 large, ripe tomatoes, peeled
  • ½ medium red pepper (roasted if wanted)
  • ½ large cucumber, peeled
  • 1 medium avocado 
  • 1 small red or white onion 
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of fresh herbs (I used parsley and basil)
  • 1 tsp of good quality balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of ½ a lemon or lime
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper


  • Roast the red pepper in a hot oven.
  • Chop all ingredients and throw them into the blender (depending on how strong your blender is you will need to chop more or less).
  • Blitz until smooth and taste for seasoning, adding more lime/lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper or even some more fresh herbs.
  • Check the texture, I like to have it in a bowl with a spoon so a smooth creamy texture is ideal but if you like to drink it over a glass add some cold water until you obtain the desired texture.
  • Keep refrigerated until serving.
  • Serve with some  toasted pumpkin seeds, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.



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Summer Arrived but with a bitter taste!

The hot weather has been here for some days now but the fact is that Summer has just started!

This is the most desired season for many people as it means longer days, fresher clothes, summer fruits and of course holidays! 

With the immense heat we have been experiencing in Madrid we planned a quick escape and made a long family weekend not only to celebrate Summer but to rest and refresh ourselves!

But it was a bitter sweet weekend! Although we were so happy for returning to Juromenha we were heartbroken with the sad news of the fires that are still running in Portugal, with so many victims and entire families lost! We spent our weekend praying also for our relatives and friends that were nearby and spent their weekend in fear…

Apart from all the help we can do in donating through all the lines made to support the population affected, there was not much we could do….so I tried to still enjoy the blesses we were given, the health and the fact that we were there together and somehow in peace!


Speaking about peace…this was one of the reasons why we chose to go back to Casas da Juromenha! We have been there some weeks ago for a friends weekend with no kids, we liked it so much that we decided to go back, this time with T, we knew he would love it…and he so much did!



Apart from the peaceful beautiful scenario with a view to the Guadiana river, the houses are cosy, beautifully decorated, the garden is so well taken care and full of lavanda and rosemary which you can smell from the moment you wake up. The breakfast is so nice and the staff friendly and very helpful. It’s a place for resting and for quietness….Warm nights and a sky full of stars!



One of the activities you can do is a boat trip through the Alqueva_Dam, we did ours at the end of the day due to the hot weather. You can do Starwatch, Kayak, and Historical Walks or simply ride one of the bicycles available and explore the surroundings by yourself! 

We left once more with the strong feeling we would be back and that this will be a good family meeting point, a shorter drive from Madrid for us and a quick one for ours from Lisbon too!

Some Suggestions:

Places to Eat

Restaurant Pata Larga in Juromenha. This is a small cosy place that makes little portuguese tapas dishes all cooked and managed by a very friendly couple. You can also order and pick up some food to eat at the house.

Restaurant A Adega dos Ramalhos in Alandroal. Typical food from the Alentejo region, tasty and also family managed. 

Restaurant Taberna do Adro in Vila Fernando – Elvas. 



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New and Old Crushes!

Hello You..from a boiling hot Madrid!

We have been having seriously hot days and nights…I have to say I quite like the warm nights, having dinner outside with 30ºC at midnight with a table full of friends and some G&Ts it’s fun…but there is absolutely no fun in walking outside at 4 in the afternoon under a boiling sun to pick T from nursery and find something to do until dinner time!

A good thing of this hot weekend was that to escape from the heath outside I could enjoy a full relaxed Sunday at home and apart from preparing the goodies you will see below, I could enjoy them watching one of the tournaments I most love….It was the final of the Roland Garros and my very Old Crush was playing for his 10th Title! It was beyond spectacular, what a happy afternoon...hard work, true dedication and humbleness! Very high expectations for Wimbledon, I believe! 

So, now let’s talk about these goodies that made me company during Sunday afternoon and that are still (some of them only) siting on my fridge!”


I confess I have crazy craving moments, when all I want is chocolate and no matter what I do to try to mislead these cravings there is no escape….and I end up having whatever seats in our cupboard that has chocolate on it! 

I have now resolved the issue, with these delicious, chocolatey nutty flavoured, super easy and almost a zero guilt pleasure…Raw Cacao, Dates and Toasted Hazelnuts Balls!


Since the day my sweet neighbour E came by for a coffee and brought me these Whole Foods Market macaroons made with dates, coconut and raw cacao and my sister text me a picture of Deliciously Ella energy balls saying they were an absolute bliss…I made a pin on the idea that one day when I had a good food processor this would be one of my first recipes to try!

So…..I do now have a food processor (pure joy!) and I am so in love with it…it’s my absolute New Crush! I find all the excuses to use it…I blend, mix, crush…make sauces, pestos, icings, ice cream, everything I can possible do with it!



So, if you have a food processor of whatever kind try this 5 min recipe, literally throw the ingredients onto the food processor and blend for 2-3 min, make little balls and fridge with it!




Raw Cacao, Dates and Toasted Hazelnuts Balls

I love the combination of chocolate and toasted hazelnuts but you can also use almonds or other nuts you like. Toasting the nuts gives a very nice flavour combination, so do spare a couple of minutes and toast them over heath in a pan slightly until just golden!  




Makes ˜ 22 (depending on individual size)


  • 250 g pitted dates
  • 80 g toasted hazelnuts
  • 30 g raw cacao powder plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or flavour
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil


  • Put the dates, toasted hazelnuts, cacao powder, vanilla and coconut oil in a food processor and process for 2 to 3 minutes until you see the mixture combining and coming together almost as a dough.
  • Roll the mixture into balls and use the extra cacao powder to coat them. Place the balls into the fridge and then into a airtight container and store them in the fridge for a couple of weeks…if you can hold!


  • If you want to enhance the coconut flavour of these chocolatey balls, you can use shredded coconut as a top coat instead of cacao powder, or do a mix.
  • When you buy nuts, always toast them and store in a airtight contain flask and in this way you always have them ready to make these balls or to top up a dessert (eg. ice cream)
  • If you want to boost these cacao balls with some more fibre and goodness add a tsp of chia seeds or even some protein powder for a full energy ball.


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Hello! Lunch..Anyone?

Hello You!

Long time….gosh I missed this!

This little bit when I seat and kind of write (talk) to you! This week  my Random Ss have been a bit delayed as somehow there was always something on the way and the priorities shifted…anyway…only good things!

We had the Madrid book fair in the Retiro Park on Saturday where the invited country is Portugal. It was too many people so we ended up just doing a walk in the park and went back yesterday after school! There are many activities and specially for kids is a must do! 


This past weekend, Madrid was full of people outside celebrating another championship victory for Real Madrid, there were parties everywhere and a  very nice environment!

The weather really warmed up…it’s not a complaint but it’s a bit scary when everyone tells me that this is still far from being the Madrid Summer! One of the things I love are the warm nights…dinners outside, a glass of cava on the balcony and not even a cardigan or a scarf on the shoulders!

But for now..and to help with the warm days… Lunch!

During the week and specially on my own, I go for fresh salads and try to vary as much as possible. I normally flick through my favourite blogs and get some inspiration and see what I can do with what I have in the fridge! Yesterday my choice was based on a Double Broccoli recipe of a blog I love 101 Cookbooks! This is a nice combination of quinoa and fresh ingredients with a Broccoli pesto which is to die for!

Enjoy…and Happy Summer!


Double Broccoli Quinoa Salad

The broccoli pesto is the star of this salad in my opinion, as it gives texture, taste and moist to the all combination of ingredients. I always have it with avocado and crumbled feta on top and replace the cream for the pesto by a couple of spoons of greek yogurt. You can use almonds but also toasted pine nuts, I have done with both and it’s always nice!

If you have trouble in cooking a good fluffy Quinoa, check Gwyneth Paltrow method on goop website, it never fails!

salad 1

Serving 1 bowl of Salad


  • cooked quinoa (amount to taste)
  •  200 g raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 50 g toasted almonds for the pesto plus for topping
  • 30 g freshly grated Parmesan
  • pinch salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of Greek yogurt 
  • medium avocado sliced
  • crumbled feta on top


  • Cook the broccoli by simmering it in water but only enough for not being raw. You want it nicely green and kind of crunchy. Set aside to cool.
  • For the pesto, puree half of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, the almonds, the grated Parmesan and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle the olive oil and add the yogurt and keep blending until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you like it more acidic you can always adjust the amount of lemon juice. 
  • In a serving bowl, put the cooked quinoa, add the remaining broccoli florets and toss some of the pesto. Add the avocados and crumble the feta cheese, add some more of the broccoli pesto and top it with some toasted almonds. You can also drizzle a bit of olive oil over the avocado and feta.


  • All ingredients can be prepared in advance and you just have to assemble the salad bowl before serving. Quinoa holds very well in the fridge for some days or you can froze it as it defrost very quickly.
  • If you have too much of the pesto, keep it and use it as a topping for a nice salmon dish or even in a cold pasta salad.
  • This is a very good option for a packed lunch.


From Mammy with Love…Happy Children´s Day!

Hello June!

What a way to start this Summer month….with a celebration for Children!

Children´s Day is celebrated all around the world on various days but for me born and raised in Portugal was always on the 1st of June!

In school we would always have something different and special happening and at home parents and close family always got us a little gift… somehow my Mum had this thing of giving both me and my sister new underwear…which until last year was always super welcomed!


Yes, we got gifts from my Mum on this Children´s Day until last year…Mine arrived by post on a very sad day for us… there were gifts for all V&C family: for me, for A and a book for T with a message from grandma Zézinha…was the last we had and the message that came with the box is with us forever!

The families got bigger and this was extended to our little ones….We carry on my Mum´s tradition and passed it to our kids. We bought a little gift for T which he woke up to this morning and last week when in Lisbon the cousins exchanged a little present between them (somehow my sister kept the underwear tradition for T..ahahah)!

So, as in any other celebration day, we got Cake for Breakfast of course!

I set the table last night so he could see the present and the cake after waking up… It was simple and pure Joy!

A slow breakfast, all at the table to contrast with the fast and sometimes stressed ones during the week days!






Passing these simple little traditions not only gives us a sense of Home wherever we are but also make me feel this confort of keeping memories alive!

So, as my Mum and until I am able to, for T…today will always be a Special Day!

Happy Children’s Day


An Orange, Almonds and Polenta Cake

I have done this cake over and over again and it´s always a success and so simple to make!


It was the first time I replaced the plain flour by polenta and used unrefined sugar instead of caster sugar. I knew T would be crazy and would want to have more than one slice so I tried to make it as healthier as possible.

The taste is still amazing, a crumbly texture with a blend of zesty flavour from the cooked and blended orange and the moisture of the almonds. I have also drizzled some reduced orange juice on top and I had mine with a spoon of Greek yogurt! Spot on!




  • 2 large oranges (1 to cook and 1 to juice)
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 g of sugar (I used raw coconut sugar which is darker and gives a darker colour to the cake, but you can use caster sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200 g ground almonds
  • 50 g polenta
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or flavour
  • Greek yogurt to serve (optional)


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Grease a 20 cm baking tin and line with non-stick baking paper.
  • Wash one of the oranges, cut in quarters and in a sauce pan with water bring it to boil and then simmer for 30-40 min until the skin is soft. Drain it, cool and blend all the orange with the peel into a purée. You can use a hand blender or a food processor.
  • In a bowl whisk the eggs and the sugar until paler and fluffy. If you are using a darker sugar than caster sugar this will have a more brown colour. 
  • Fold in the baking powder, almonds and the polenta. Add the orange purée and the vanilla.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook for 30-40 min or until the cake is golden and the skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool.
  • Juice the other orange and in a sauce pan reduce the juice to half. Pour it on top of the cake. You can decorate with some orange zest and serve it with a spoon of Greek yogurt.



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…on a constant look for it! 


(Not a Random List and not in a Random order….but sometimes priorities do shift…)

Time for T 

Time for Me

Time for Me&A

Time to Cook, to eat and enjoy…

Time for the house…

Time to Study and for long Job applications…

Time to run from one place to another doing random needed things…

Time for some exercise…

Time for Family, for Friends…for far away messages and calls…

Time to Stop…

Time to stop Time and enjoy simple moments…

Time for all of YOU, for my posts and recipes…prepared with dedication and full honesty…


Sometimes Time is just not enough…and life happens in between…

We had a no kids weekend celebrating a Friends birthday in a place which we will go back very soon and I’ll tell you all about it! We had so much Time

Time to rest, to stop, to eat, to enjoy, to laugh…and to switch off this constant parent alert sensor we have when we are with T….

The days flew by but passed slowly….On Sunday when we saw him again it seemed that Time passed by him and made him grow so much in just a couple of days…what a funny thing…

Talking about posts and recipes…Get some strawberries, while still in season, you may be lucky and find those nice sweet small ones, and try this Strawberry and Chia Seeds simple jam.

On warm days you can have it with some vanilla or lemon ice cream or simply use a spoon of it to add to your summer yogurt breakfasts! Of course you can also use it for the classics…spread it over a nice Victoria Sponge Cake, Toasts or have it with your scones! 



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British Summer…and A Lemony Asparagus Soup

The British Summer

Yes! I know many of you will laugh at this, thinking…what is she talking about? 

Although real summer is somehow rare in the UK, the fact is that when the sun finally shines and the sky is clear blue it´s an amazing feeling…

london park.jpg

The other day, when looking at some sunny London Instagram feeds and watching the news, I found myself thinking and somehow nostalgic about the summer feeling in London….

The summer dresses, or the winter ones you can still adapt simply by not wearing tights and a jacket or layers underneath (an art you master after some years living there), ballerina shoes (even if at 7 am while waiting for the bus your feet turn purple because is still quite cold)….that lightness is something to treasure!

All food magazines are packed with summer colours, green and fresh options, British asparagus and of course…recipes for the picnics in the park, work lunches seated outside or Sunday barbecues in the garden.


British strawberries to follow the Slam of the Slams….Wimbledon matches in big screens outside…and of course Pims and Lemonade! What not to like?

So my recipe for today, is inspired by this British Summer feeling… fresh, light and super tasty…some spoons of renewed hopes after a hard cold winter!

Enjoy the Summer!


A Lemony Summer Asparagus Soup


This fresh lemony asparagus soup is my alternative to the very typical cold soups in Spain (Gazpacho and Salmorejo): tomato based soups made with olive oil, garlic and peppers that people drink cold by the glass. I personally don’t like it, so I made this alternative which can be eaten cold if you like or just warm.


Depending on the level of your diet, you can have it for lunch with some nice brown bread and if you like textures add a spoon of fluffy cooked quinoa, or for a light summer dinner just have it on it’s own.



  • 2 large courgettes
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 bunch of  asparagus (more less 300g)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • zest of 1/2 lemon and juice
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh mint leaves
  • cooked quinoa (optional)


  • Peel and slice the courgettes, slice the leeks and the celery stalk.
  • In a sauce pan sauté the sliced vegetables in olive oil and add some salt, some mint leaves and the lemon zest.
  • Cover with water only until it covers the veggies (it is important not to add too much water so the soup is smooth in the end).
  • Bring it to boil and cook for 10 minutes. Switch off the heat, cover the pan and leave it to finish cooking.
  • Blend the mixture, add the lemon juice and some more fresh mint and blend again. Taste for seasoning.
  • Serve and top it with some pan fried asparagus and if wanted a spoon of cooked quinoa and some black pepper.
  • You can add a little of olive oil before serving as well if wanted. 



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A “S” for so many of You…and an App for your Health!

Today we celebrate the International Clinical Trials Day!

It´s the commemoration of the first randomised trial conducted on a board of a ship in 1747 to treat scurvy, by a Scottish physician named James Lind.

Having been involved with clinical research for the past few years, I could not pass this day without doing a homage to all participants and patients for make it possible, and all clinical research staff, scientists and healthcare professionals for their daily commitment and challenges faced when conducting a clinical trial and working within clinical research.

All around the world there will be many celebrations and events, not only to commemorate this day but to also bring people together, to come closer to participants and patients and raise awareness for the importance of clinical research to improve healthcare and most of all to help to demystify some of the public concerns about it.

To everyone fighting to do it better each time…

Happy Clinical Trials Day!


A Doctor in your Pocket 

Today as all turns around our health and healthcare awareness I chose to share something different!

Instead of a recipe….an App!

My Doctor App


Yes, together with my good friend M, we will tell you about a new App that is here to help us take care of our health, a combination of highly qualified medical professionals of more than 35 different specialities, technology and YOU!

Easy to use, Quick, Low cost and just like that your health queries resolved!

All those little queries parents have at the end of the day, weekends or on holidays without means to have a quick answer….are now resolved! A team of Paediatricians, Dermatologists and many more available in your pocket any time!

Look at these features:

1- Download for free and create your profile (name, age, sex, weight, height and medical history)

2- If you have children you can add their profiles to yours as well (Yes!)

3- As a welcome pack your first appointment is free

4- Choose the type of appointment (there are different packs with different prices):

Standard (time of reply until 6h)

Faster (time of reply until 2h)

5- Choose the specialist team and write your query, attach pictures and videos if needed

6- Receive your medical advice as per appointment requested


For both myself and M, the most important thing is to know that the creator of My Doctor App, Dr César Casado and his team of doctors are highly qualified in their specific areas and patients safety is a priority!

My Doctor App has just been launched and is available to download (IOS and Android) and to use worldwide, therefore a very good support for all your travels!

Appointments are for now only in Spanish and during Spanish times, but keep yourself posted as there are future plans to take it internationally and we are sure it will be a success!

If you want to listen for Dr César Casado about My Doctor App click here, you can also follow My Doctor App on Instagram and see what all the media has been saying about it!

For your Health…

Para Tu Salud…



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A Day at Faunia and our San Isidro

We had another long weekend with the San Isidro bank holiday on Monday. 

San Isidro it´s a very typical festivity in Madrid, people dress up in proper costumes (chulapos), dance the chotis and eat typical food in honour of the Saint.

In schools it is also celebrated with all kids dressing up…. our T even danced the chotis with his little friends and ate churros in the San Isidro party in his class!

For us was another 3 days weekend with a super energetic toddler and the need to find something fun, outside the house and also fun for the parents…please!


Still battling with my stomach bug, which has taken most of my energy, I found some strength and we headed to Faunia, for what was in the end a great day!

If you are ever in Madrid or close by and with kids, don’t miss it! It’s not only fun for kids but for us as well! The space is very green and tidy, there is a lot to see and very nice exhibitions with many interesting things for us parents too.

One of the things I liked the most was definitely the spaces where the kids could directly contact with the animals in a peaceful environment always with music around…and those little yellow cars for them are a life-saver for us!




Different environments divided by continents with all different species and vegetation.



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There is a little farm with sheep, goats, chickens, pigs which was T´s favourite! Also little ponies which kids can ride but only after the age of 3!




The butterfly hall and exhibition was one of my favourites for the beauty and quietness of the place.



There are crocodiles, snakes and spiders…not my cup of tea to say the least and a North Pole exhibition full of cute penguins which was amazing to see as well all the sea life!



There is also a sand playground near one of the bars where you can have some nice rest and the kids play freely!


In the end we all had a great fun day and we will be back for sure!



Some Information for you to consider

Website: http://faunia.es/

Always check online before you go as there is plenty of information about exhibitions and whats on and what to do. 


We went by car and there is good parking with an all day cost of 5,50 euros. There is metro with lines 9 and 2 and also a bus which leaves you directly at the entrance.


If possible buy them online, it’s an easy option and you avoid some queues specially if you are with kids. A suggestion is to buy in advance (1 or 2 weeks) as it will be much reduced.

Going with Children:

It’s a very children friendly place. Very tidy and clean. You can easily find toilets equipped with baby changers, it is very easy to visit with pushchairs and the cafes and restaurants are equipped with microwaves to warm up any food.


My best suggestion is to take some food with you and enjoy some of the green shadow spaces to make a picnic. The food is basically poor quality buggers and hot dogs, although you can find that some of the bars do a tortilla sandwich or so.




Live, Eat and Travel

When all goes wrong…


…and Chocolate Mouse


We had a bit of a tough week, apart from all the thunderstorm and rain after a sunny and warm weekend, there was a knocked down mom (me!!) and many plans of course fallen apart!

Nevertheless, I am feeling better and getting back on track and could not let you go for another weekend (which for some of us will be another long one), without a recipe (in this case 2 recipes) and one of my little stories!

This is the story of the day when the most delicious and easy recipe of a Chocolate Mousse went very wrong! 

For the Chocolate Mousse Recipe see below.

For the disaster one that became now one of V&C household favourites, click on the Recipes Page here!

Have a Lovely Weekend!


Chocolate Mousse

This is a very easy recipe for a last minute dinner when visiting friends or at home.

It takes no longer than 15 minutes to prepare and if served the day after is even better. It is so so easy to prepare that one day it went all wrong for me, see here how I saved it!


The trick here is to use very good quality chocolate and butter (you know me by now!) and whisk the egg whites very well until firm, if you are strong enough like my brother in law you can whisk them by hand!


  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp of brown sugar 
  • 200 g of dark chocolate (I used Lindt cooking 70% cocoa)
  • 1 tbsp of butter 

To Serve (optional)

Toasted almonds or hazelnuts, walnuts go very well with it as well and some raspberries or other berries.


  • Place the chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (bain-marie). Stir until melted. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile in a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until a dark yellow and fluffy mixture is obtained.
  • Add the melted chocolate to the eggs and sugar mixture and mix until all is incorporated.
  • Whisk the egg whites until firm and then carefully fold them into the chocolate mixture until a light mousse is obtained.
  • You can both serve in a single large bowl or in individual little bowls or cups.
  • Refrigerate and take out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before serving. Add some toasted nuts and berries if wanted.



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O “Colo”…Difficult to Explain, Impossible to Replace!

“Colo” is a Portuguese word that I have always found difficult to explain in a different language…


It is more than just “hold in your arms” or a hug and cuddle….it´s something that if we are lucky enough we have from ours for many years of our lives! It´s the warmth, the support, the pride, the words, the strength that help us and guide us through!

After this Mother´s Day, I could not avoid thinking and missing this feeling of having my Mother´s arms…

So difficult to hold without being held and being a Mother without having one…but she left her prints on each of us to raise and hold each of our kids and nurture them as she did to us!

Heaven is just about how people are remembered after they left…for the good they did…

Hope you can see us from there and the joys of every day conquered!

We are alright…Mom! 



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A Cake for Mother´s Day

Last year by this time, the universe turned in a way that took my Mom to London to spend Mother´s Day with us…a visit that turned to be our last week together!

I remember I was so worried with her health that I thought and planned healthy meals, nourishing soups and of course Cake!

cake for mum mothers day.jpg

This is the story about Love, Bake and Nourisha book I added to my collection some weeks before my Mom arrived. It was actually a present from my good friend L…

I wanted to bake a cake for Mother´s Day, a tasty one, baked with love but avoiding much of the use of refined ingredients! Amber Rose combines all this with perfection…a book full of beautiful recipes, fruits and colour, kids stories and ingredients valuable information. 

I chose ¨A cake to celebrate summer berries¨….in the end we celebrated much more than that…

This year, together with T I will bake another cake from this book….will tell him why and we will start another one of our little traditions…


A Cake for Mother’s Day

This is a very tasty cake, with a subtle lemon flavour combined with the simple sweetness of the honey. The cream and berries on top make a beautiful combination…it was a success and made my Mom very happy! She was a cake lover….

I used honey instead of the maple syrup as in the original recipe. I had a good light flowers honey and wanted to try it.


for the cake

  • 160 g white spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 20 g cornflour
  • 180 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 180 g honey ( the original recipe uses maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla flavour
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • zest of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • pinch of salt

for the topping

  • 300 ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp light honey
  • 300 g summer berries (I used strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)



  • Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Grease and flour a 22 cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until pale and fluffy using an electric mixer. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the flour and beat in the eggs, one at the time. Continue to beat until you have a light, fluffy mixture (if it looks like curdling, add another tablespoon of flour). Fold in the rest of the flour, the baking powder and cornflour. Then add the honey, vanilla, lemon zest and salt, plus the 2-3 tablespoons of milk if the mixture is too stiff.
  • Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin, level the surface with the back of a spoon and bake for 40 min or until golden and the skewer inserted in the centres of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool completely.
  • Place the cream and honey in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Spread the cream on the top of the cake and place the berries mixture over the cream.
  • You may sprinkle a little bit of icing sugar on top if wanted.


If you want to bake a cake for Mother´s Day you may also want to check other recipes in the Recipes page or on my Pinterest account

Happy Mother´s Day




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The Perfect Marriage…

Every time I start to see watermelon on sale, I know that summer is fast approaching!

From the taste, to the colour, to the water content every thing rhymes with summer lunches or easy snacks.


Since my days in the UK and several Greek encounters and good friendships made, I found a very different usage for watermelon: a marriage with feta cheese!

Yes, it seems weird, my facial expression in the begging was of doubt and reluctance ….but it makes so much sense now!

The sweetness and juice of the watermelon combined with the salty and crumble texture of the feta….it´s the perfect marriage!

As promised in yesterday’s post, here is a summer, light but tasty Recipe.



Watermelon, Feta and Pomegranate Salad



Watermelon is fresh and a very hydrating fruit.

Fresh mint is a proven digestive aid and pomegranate contains ellagic acid which has been shown to be beneficial to cell health.

This is a recipe from the Maggie´s book I told you before. I added a balsamic vinegar reduction to it and it worked out perfectly!

You can both have it as a light main meal or as a side, a good combination for a summer meat barbecue!


for 2 portions

  • 2 good slices of a large watermelon or 1/2 a small watermelon
  • 100 g feta cheese
  • 1 pomegranate 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • bunch of mint leaves



  • Peel and cut the watermelon into cubes and take off the seeds.
  • Roughly chop the feta cheese and then peel and de-seed the pomegranate.
  • In a saucepan add the balsamic vinegar and bring it to boil. Once boiling reduce the heat and let it simmer and reduce until you obtain a thick consistency. 
  • Mix the watermelon, the feta and the pomegranate in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and the reduced balsamic. Sprinkle the chopped mint leaves on top.
  • You can either serve it all in a bowl or make small individual bowls.


If you want to try another healthy and tasty recipe of this book, check this roasted beetroot and goat´s cheese salad.




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Hello May! Random Decisions…

Another new month has started, May! An this is one of my favourites!

In the UK  there are 2 bank holidays, the weather normally (?) starts to warm up and the days are much longer….

In Portugal and in Spain the weather really warms up but to the right point where is still bearable, there are also bank holidays and a special day; Mother’s Day! What not to like?

For Susana Random Ss there will also be a 3 month anniversary! 

So after the 4 days of hibernation and total rest I made my decisions for the Blog this month:

1- Start the Places Page on the blog with a visit that blew our hearts away!

2- Write Posts dedicate to Women and Mothers and with a special tribute to the Men next to them: these amazing new generation of partners and fathers that cook, bath, hold, do night feeds and support their families no matter what…

3- Bring some of my best Female Friends and our stories to these Random Posts 

4- Share some fresh and light recipes for the warm days and of course for all of us that are also aiming for a new bathing suit or a bikini!

It will be a Happy Month!

But for now read our story and check our day at the Kew Gardens and why you should not wait 5 years to visit!

The debut of a new Page on the Blog….

A Day at the Kew Gardens here

fulham kews 2016 371.JPG



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Bank Holiday Plans? Bake a Tart!


We are heading for another bank holiday weekend, in Spain we will have four days! Yeah!

The 1st of May will be bank holiday in several countries around the world and therefore if you are making plans for lunch with friends, a barbecue or even a picnic in the park try and bake this Lemon and Passion Fruit Tart.

I remember the first time I baked this tart was for T´s baby brunch. Some weeks before T was born we hosted our London friends for a Sunday brunch and from that moment on I have baked it several times and it was always a hit!


It´s an easy recipe, very fresh and due to the wet lemony filling can both work as a dessert or a side for a tea or a coffee. 

If you are heading to the Hyde Park for the traditional bank holiday picnics or a friends house barbecue it´s also easy to carry!

We had some friends over on Wednesday for dinner and we cheered to our first 6 months in Madrid and had tart for dessert of course!


Try it and let me know!


Lemon and Passion Fruit Tart

For the pastry I use a shortcrust recipe I have which always works perfectly. It is the perfect amount for a 20 cm tart tin.

The passion fruit filling is from the Home Bake cookbook from the Cake Boy, Eric Lanlard. I use more passion fruit that he does (the original recipe only uses 2) and added a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the mixture.



For the Base

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 100 g butter
  • pinch salt

For the Filling 

  • 5 eggs 
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 150 ml of double cream
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 ripe passion fruit (original recipe uses 2)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste or vanilla flavour (optional)


  1.  Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
  2. For the pastry, mix the flour and the salt in a bowl, add the butter diced in little cubes and rub with your fingers until it looks like a crumble. Mix some water (around 4 tbsp) one tablespoon at the time and work the dough until it comes together. When you are able to make a homogeneous ball with it, wrap it in some cling film and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and fluffy, pour the cream and the lemon zest and juice. Add the passionfruit pulp and the vanilla (if using it). 
  4. Pour the filling mixture into the tart tin already lined with the prepared dough and bake for 30-40 min until the dough is cooked and the filing is set but still wobbly!
  5. Leave it to cool and dust it with a bit of icing sugar.


  • You can blind bake the dough if you prefer.
  • You can remove the seeds of the passion fruit if you want but I think it looks nicer with them.
  • This tart is very god served with some berries as well.


Happy Bank Holiday!


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Anzac Biscuits: A Recipe with History!

I love the stories behind recipes and recipes with History as well!

Most of the times there is always something behind a recipe, a special occasion, a celebration and how it connects people or heals them!

There is also recipes with History, in the majority of the cases they relate with a discovery of a new ingredient or with different needs at the time!

A Portuguese one I find special interesting is about the Conventual Sweets; which are mostly based on sugar and egg yolks. From the 15th century onward, Portugal was using a lot of egg whites as a wine purifier and also exporting them for being used to iron elegant clothes of rich men all around Occidental Europe!

With the expansion of sugar, the nuns in the convents started to use the left overs of the egg yolks to make these conventual sweets and some time after started to sell them and passed the tradition from generations to generations.

Anzac Biscuits


A couple of days ago, on the 25th April, both Portugal and Australia celebrated a special day. 

In Portugal, we celebrated the so called Freedom Day (25th April 1974) – the day of the revolution and the end of the dictatorship.

Every year my mom used to say the same thing….”I was about to go to school, when your grandfather entered in the house and told us that there was no school that day, everyone was out in the streets…a revolution had began! And life changed forever!

In Australia, they have celebrated the Anzac Day – The Australian War Memorial.

Anzac stands for the Australian and New Zealand War Corps and it celebrates their first major military action during the First World War. It´s their remembrance day.

It seems that wives of the soldiers were baking these Anzac Biscuits and posting them to their husbands. They are made with  simple ingredients that would easily handle naval transportation.



Taking advantage of the windy day in Madrid which made it impossible to take T to the park after nursery, I thought it would be a good idea to bake some Anzac Biscuits with him.

I slowly told him his grandma story about the Portuguese 25th of April….not sure he got it, but it was super fun…and very messy as well!


Anzac Biscuits: A recipe with History 

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe, I made some tweaks as I didn’t have golden syrup and instead used honey, and baking powder instead of bicarbonate of soda and added a little pinch of cinnamon (but you can not to).

I also used coconut sugar as I had a pack I recently bought and really wanted a recipe I could try it with and this one looked great. Coconut sugar derives from the coconut palm tree and it´s being very much used to replace white refined sugar….and I wanted to try!


1-  These are absolutely delicious! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and definitely the orange zest gives a fantastic flavour to the all biscuit.

2- Perfect to bake with kids: you make the mixture of the dry ingredients and then the one of the liquid ones and let them mix both and play with their hands, and make little dough balls.


  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbps honey
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 120g plain flour
  • 80g rolled oats
  • 100g coconut sugar or golden caster sugar
  • 80g desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla flavour
  • zest of 1 orange
  • pinch (small) cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat, then stir in the honey. In a small bowl, combine the baking powder with 3 tablespoons of boiling water, then stir it into the butter mixture.
  3. Combine the flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a medium bowl. Make a well in the middle, then add the butter mixture, vanilla, cinnamon and orange zest. Give the wet ingredients a good mix, then gradually stir in the dry ingredients to combine.
  4. Place little balls of dough into the baking trays, leaving a rough 3cm gap between each one. Place in the hot oven for around 10 minutes, or until golden, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. After 5 minutes into the oven I quickly with the back of a spoon pressed the dough down and left them of an extra 5 minutes. I like them with a bit of a rough look. 


After so much dedicated work from T, I thought it would only be fare to share some of his biscuits Art.




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Madrid #1 – 6 Months After

It was precisely 6 months ago that myself and T arrived to Madrid, to be more exactly 182 days!!!

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We landed anxious to meet A and be together again. I had this feeling I know very well…butterflies in the stomach, the mixture of excitement with fear of how much of a Home this new city would be!

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It was a very warm October and the blue skies on the way home gave me comfort! I knew the way very well, I lost the count of how many times I have been to Madrid but never with my life packed and a kid on the back seat!

I woke up today with a message of a good friend saying….

“You make such a beautiful home and bring such warmth and hospitality everywhere you go”

Well, I guess this is likely the best definition of Home I found! 

I entered in an empty house (almost), surrounded by boxes and I could hardly believe we were doing this again…exhausted and full of mixed feelings after leaving a city and a job I loved and so many friends behind…was hard to see the new place as Home!

Finding our place and Serenity…took time!

October 2016

Slowly building a Home and meeting the new city



November 2016 

New beginnings, a Birthday Boy and so many Thanks to Give


A feeling of Home is much about sharing, sharing moments and special occasions and feel the warmth the others can bring…much of our November was filled with dinners and friends and celebrations which with still a bit of an empty house made things warmer!

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Our yearly celebration of Thanksgiving, or Giving Thanks it´s actually how we call it. No matter where we are we plan this evening and the dinner very in advance! 


December 2016 

Christmas came quickly and so our Christmas cards, Christmas tree and decorations and of course a meal before everyone went away to their families …. 




And a day trip to Segovia

The weather was still very pleasant and although we could see some snow on top of the mountains, the sun was warm and great for a walk


A Christmas Carousel to finish the year


January 2017 

We entered in 2017 with a full house, both kids dancing and playing!



And a Birthday Dad and after 6 years we went back to Bogui´s Jazz 



February 2017 

February was a special month, somehow the universe turned in a way that made us celebrate 20 years together in this city! And it was also the month where I finally found the courage and the energy to create this Random space of mine


March 2016 

Spring, Snow and a Birthday Mom



April 2017

In between the Easter rush, the Balcony decor was much of the dedication for this month, cooking herbs and cosiness for the warm nights and the balcony chats was all we wanted!


And we did do a visit to the Botanical Gardens

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6 Months passed and…

I found my way around the neighbourhood, from the fishmonger to the local florist, the ice cream shop to the girls at my usual coffee shop…

T is happy at his new school and now adding Spanish to his confused sentences! 

I have also made my peace with the Spanish language which is not as everyone says very similar to Portuguese! Much due to Leticia my Spanish Teacher from Estudio Sampere who was of a major help in understanding my gaps and difficulties and driving all lessons to make me improve each day! 

And in food? Well….

I found my favourite Pizza Place at La Nonna, whose owners happen to be our neighbours! Yeah!

I ate the best sushi of my life at Kabuki

I tried the best Tortilla until now (I still have a couple of places to try) at Juana La Loca 

I dream of the fish and seafood from Nort Sur , yes and the Flan de Queso as a dessert is a must have.

I ate more Jamón and Manchego cheese than I ever did in my life, and I love the Aperitivo…eat before eating..why not?

And I finally tried skying.….

Ohh…and I now own a good collection of red lipstick….whatever you do from the gym to dinner, red lipstick will always save you in this city!


And the People..the ones we had waiting for us and the new friends we made….

Yes, indeed we are at Home!

An S for Serenity




Our Easter and Cake of course!

We are still here…


Yes, after our days in Lisbon we returned to a house without wifi and somehow I took advantage of it to finish tasks I was for long dragging…

In between job applications and some soul search for my next career step, I finished a DYI table for Tomás room, planted some cooking plants we brought from Portugal and carried on with the balcony decor…we are so much looking forward for the warm nights and an after dinner G&T (mum&dad quality time, Yeah!). I promise to show the changes and improvements. 

It was a busy Easter as all our visits back Home, with so many things to do, but we managed to find some time to enjoy the good weather, experience the beach sand feeling below our feet, T also tried the swimming pool (I was not as adventurous) and of course, the pleasure of slow balcony breakfasts, grilled fish and Easter Lamb!

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The Easter Sunday finished with a chocolate Bunny hunt in the garden and T watering gradma’s plants.

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It´s amazing to see his freedom playing outside and we could almost see him making his own childhood memories…

In between we had our M´s birthday party! What a celebration, there were princesses, and playtime and toys everywhere and more importantly lots of fun for our so sweet and grown up Maria!

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And Cake….

Actually lots of cakes and food….friends, family and neighbours, everyone helped and again childhood memories, this time for our M,were made. I hope we can tell her one day about these birthday parties of her and how all was so much surrounded by love and much of her parents sweat!


Blood Orange and Olive Oil Bundt Cake

My choice of bundt this time went for a Blood Orange and Olive oil cake, original recipe by the Cygnet Kitchen, remember the inspiration post?

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I can just say that I will definitely bake this cake again and again, it´s fresh and super moist,  easy to do and the white chocolate glaze gives a certain touch to the orange flavour. I can see it easily done with lemons as well and a simple lemon glaze or even with a mascarpone frosting.


I added some little vanilla bean paste to the cake mixture, you know me by now….it had to be!


For the cake 

  • 5 large eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • Zest and juice of 3 blood oranges (approx. 150ml)
  • 150g light olive oil
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste or vanilla flavour
  • 1 tbsp of butter, melted for greasing the tin
  • 1 tbsp of flour, to dust the tin (plain or self raising is fine)

For the glaze

  • 140g white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • zest 1 blood orange, plus juice of 1½ (about 75ml juice)



  • Pre-heat the oven to 170 ºC. Grease and dust the bundt cake tin
  • Whisk the eggs with the sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy
  • Add the orange juice and the olive oil and carry on whisking until combined
  • Fold in the flour until just incorporated and be careful to not overmix.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin, place on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until risen and golden. A skewer inserted into the cake should come out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before carefully turning it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  • Make the glaze by melting the chocolate and adding the orange juice until combined. Leave it to cool.
  • Refrigerate the glaze until it thickens, but is still pourable. When it is ready, drizzle the glaze over the cake so that it drips down the sides. 

I hope you all had a lovely Easter



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Lisbon….The Coolest City!

Says the CNN…but we already knew it!

Nevertheless it´s always nice to read and hear about it from someone else.

In all these years away, I met many people with an absolute passion for Lisbon and Portugal in general…the food (of course!), the conventual sweets, the people, the beaches and the culture….and they always finish with a remark on the weather and specially about the light that the city has! 

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Miradoro de São Pedro de Alcântara

CNN presents 7 reasons why Lisbon might be the coolest city in Europe!

  1. Nightlife that can outlast Madrid’s
  2. Experimental cuisine
  3. Irony
  4. Beaches and castles
  5. Fabulous design
  6. Big art
  7. Fascinating streets

I am sure the man of the house will disagree with reason number 1…but all the others are spot on! We always have our hearts divided in between the cities that are part of our lives and it´s hard to say which one is the best….but of course in Lisbon we will always be at Home!

Reading this article, made my mind wonder and also pushed me to make a plan for the next few days that we will spend there and try to enjoy the most out of it!

During T´s first summer in Portugal, and when we could still hold him in the same place for more than 2 minutes, we took some pictures with Mariana Sabido, and we chose Lisbon as a scenario. 

We met Mariana in Principe Real gardens, a place full of life: cafes, restaurants and gorgeous shops! After a coffee and an initial chat we just walked through streets and places that we so much love!

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Lisbon popular yellow Trams 

The narrow streets up and down the hill and the famous yellow trams are a must as are the little neighbourhoods inside the city! 

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Lisbon has a for us a flavour of being at Home without being Home!

Confusing I know….but it´s the city we know without knowing it….or at least very well!

Time passes by quickly and both myself and A have been away for many years now! We always have to check blogs and ask friends for the latest cool restaurant or bar and we make far too many plans, more than we can possible do as there is family and friends to see and to be with!

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 So, we are heading to Lisbon for Easter break and of course with many plans…our M´s 5th birthday party and Easter lunch. The bundt cake tin is packed and also some baking ingredients which I don’t pass without…so expect some news!

Check Instagram, but I promise a blog update as soon we are back!

We expect warm sunny weather, so hopefully we can do some nice beach walks and play…

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I avoided baking and too much cooking this week as I know I will not resist to my coffee and a Nata Pastry in my favourite place and very likely….I´ll do it every day!

So, enjoy your Easter and why not give yourself and little baking time? If in need of ideas check my Recipes page.


Happy Easter


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Blood Oranges Happiness..and a Proud Auntie

Happiness is….

Finding Blood Oranges when getting inspired for my Niece´s 5th Birthday!


It´s hard to believe that our little M is actually turning 5 already! The time flew since the day she arrived to our lives to brighten our days. She´s a happy, smart and determined little girl but my favourite thing is by far her unconditional love for little cousin T! 

Even far away, they recognise each other books, or borrowed things and kiss and hug our mobiles when they talk to each other! 

For her, it will be the party of the year and plans started quite ahead. The cake and dessert list was already shared and family and friends tasks assigned…

I got the Bundt Cake mission!

Getting Inspired by Season Blood Oranges…..
…And Other Bundts



For this Bundt Inspiration Mood check my Pinterest.

I promise lots of Party updates and recipes and hopefully sunny Lisbon pictures next week!

If you would like a recipe for the weekend, check the Recipes Page on the Blog.



Have a good Weekend 


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The Diet..and Cauliflower Rice

Hello You!

First a note to you all….Thank you! Thank you for being there, for your likes and comments, for your messages and specially for coming back!  

It Makes this Random adventure worth every word!

Now about The Diet….and the cauliflower rice I posted last night on my Instagram! If you never tried or didn’t even think of trying (like me until yesterday) you really should! You will see why, for the recipe check the Recipes Page!


The Diet

Well, what can I say?

  • Yes, I do want to try a bathing suit or a bikini without the fear of the fitting rooms mirrors! I am definitely working hard for this one!
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  • Also considering that now I will wear summer dresses without thighs and coats and not only for a 2 week holiday but for normal days, I would like to wear them without feeling sad about my floppy arms!
  • But the most important reason!!!!! I really wanted to stop pretending that my son was born last year! 

Yes, every time I met a new trainer in the gym and mentioned I wanted to loose those extra 2 kilos and tone a bit….I could see the question coming and my heart started pounding! So, after the move and with extra time it was my chance to go and hit hard!

Well, I hit so hard that it actually made me sick!

With the days passing, I had so much body pain…and no, not from exercising but from the increased levels of stress that my body was under and I was stupidly increasing it with high intensity training (HIT), gym classes…you name it!

Instead of feeling relaxed, I had more and more pain, muscle tension and pain, neck pain and felt my body was literary on fire and I could hardly move!

All the stress with moving to Madrid, the last months at work and very likely the late stages of grieve…my body could not handle it!

So, I took some days to try to understand what was going on, read some articles online and decided to stop! On one of those days, I found Vanesa.

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Vanesa is my Pilates teacher in a Wellness centre in our neighbourhood and after some sessions of Physiotherapy to help my body heal and also to release the stress, I started doing Reformer Pilates and just within a week I had no pain at all! My body is stronger and stronger and I finally feel my abs again….Oh yeah!

With the support of my good friend M, I also started The Diet (that´s how it´s called in the V&C household), for 31 days I followed Ágata Roquete, a Portuguese Nutritionist ´Dieta dos 31 dias´, the 31 days diet.

Be aware that it was the first time I ever followed a diet like this, but I did not feel it was hard at all as most of our diet was already based on the foods she suggests, but of course I had to cut on carbs and sugar. The best thing is that you have a free day a week where you can relax if you go out for dinner or lunch…. I normally enjoy a good pizza, or a dish of pasta, cake (of course) and some bubbles!

I know you want to know how much weight did I loose!!! Right? I´ll tell you!

I actually adopted her maintenance phase as a rule and I cut the amount of fruits and carbs I was having, have increased the amount of water intake (something very challenging for me) and also adopted the dinners of soup a couple of times a week, like in one of the last phases of the diet! This Green soup is normally the choice, all the taste and no potatoes! 

I believe it´s important to be open to flexibility, it´s not only about The Diet but also about trying new foods, ingredients, ways of cooking and seasoning. It´s important not to stress too much with it, and if there are weeks where because of guests or special occasions there is more bubbles than expected, or cake…I just relax and try to not over do it and compensate in the next days!

The weight!!!!

I am happy to say that I lost a bit over 3 Kgs, so bye bye those 2 pregnancy kilos and an extra one to keep the mood high! Most importantly I lost quite a lot of volume, and after 1 week this was very noticeable!

Unfortunately, I am one of those people that instead of loosing the weight on the hips where it´s actually needed, looses on the face straight away and as much as I liked to loose a bit more, I am sure I would not like my face…so I am now focused on the toning phase and on not adding any extra kilo! 

It is important to take some time to listen your body, its messages and signals and take  time to breath, stop and change strategy! I will go back to HIT as soon as I feel my body is ready to handle it but for now this is my happy place!

Saúde, is the Portuguese S for today!



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This hard thing of being a Parent…

An Emotional Outburst and a Weekend Reflection


And here we are! In the peak of the so called Twos and dealing with the turbulence of changes and the need for independence!

I swear that from all the moments of doubt or even some fear as a parent, nothing has made me reflect as this phase!

We have always been very relaxed with T, and in exchange he has given us the grace of being a very easy baby and toddler, adapting to all the changes we made him go through in this short life of his: different houses, countries, schools, different languages always without making us notice that he had any trouble adapting to anything new!

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We arrived to the tantrums stage, the No´s and the wills, the fights to dress, undress, bath and the list goes on! On the top of this, it is also time for potty training and somehow he feels that now he is independent and fights for it, of course!

After a spotless day at nursery where everything goes very smoothly, the challenge starts and I never know how will my day finishes…normally tired, seated on the sofa after a shower, and with this strange and painful feeling of doubt!

We read about tantrums and this stage of life, how to manage them and how to respond, we try to follow advises – don´t pay attention, give him some ´time out´strategy so he can calm himself down….be patient and calm and firm with your instructions….

It´s hard, super hard…not really sure if harder for them or us!

As parents, when we go to sleep the only thing we can hope for is that whatever we are doing wrong or not so well can be improved the next day and all we are doing well shapes his personality and gives him the strength and values we would like him to have!


I am sure one day we will likely not remember these moments very well, so I decided to write him a card about this phase of his but also for him to know among all, how sweet, happy and friendly child he is and how we love him and his English, Portuguese, Spanish confused little phrases!


Have a good Weekend 

If you would like a recipe for the weekend, check the Recipes Page 


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Today´s S is for my Mother…Happy Birthday Mom


This is not a sad post, it´s a celebration of life and little gestures that make grieve more bearable!

Today it´s my Mom´s birthday…this use to be the end of my March month…after so many celebrations this one used to be the last. 

In these 10 months without her, I slowly learnt that grieve is not something that goes away ever….but something that you learn how to live with! I live with mine in peace…a peace that took me long to find!

In London, I would celebrate days like this one by going to sit on a bench in Bishops Park and remember the last time we sat there watching T play.


In Madrid, I don’t have memories of her, only the ones on my mind so I chose to celebrate the day with something that I like and I know that were two of my Mom´s favourite things…

Cake and Flowers! 


Just by chance my sister will be with us tonight and that´s what we will do…we will have cake for dessert!

You can find the recipe here

This is a Happy S….for you Mom!

With Love,






The most easiest Weekend Pot



Some posts ago (here) I wrote you about what I call ´Susana Granola´ and this jam that is more like a dessert which I simply add to one or two spoons of yogurt and enjoy a nice and easy breakfast.

This weekend we had grandparents visiting so it was time to bake a new tray of this granola of mine and make some easy tasty jam and have all prepared for our breakfast table.

I always enjoyed eating granola for breakfast specially when the weather starts to warm up and suddenly you wake up with the feeling of having a fresher and lighter breakfast.

Well, we had snow on Friday and a very cold weekend and it seems that Spring is delaying its stay but nevertheless this was still a very good breakfast!

Baking your own granola is very easy and the best thing is that you can control what you add and the amount of sugar as well…something you cannot with the ones you buy which are loaded with sugar!

See how easy it is!

Granola and Jam – A Weekend Pot 

The good thing of granola recipes is that apart from oats and honey, you can adapt to whatever you like or have in your cupboard!

You can use coconut oil or any other mild oil, avocado or sunflower oil are good options. For this one I used a mix of chia, sunflower and flax seeds and almonds and hazelnuts but you can use whatever seeds and nuts you like and also dried fruits which I never add to mine because I don´t like.


For the Granola 


  • 500 g oats
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of vanilla bean paste or vanilla flavour
  • 100 g of hazelnuts
  • 100 g of almonds
  • 100 g of seeds mix (pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds)
  • 50 g of shredded coconut
  • 6 tbsp of honey
  • 6 tbsp of coconut oil

Extras: dried fruits


  • Melt the coconut oil and the honey and add it to the mixture of the dry ingredients and mix well. I use my hands to make sure all the honey and oil and well mixed into the oats and nuts and form a nice sticky mixture.
  • Spread the mixture over a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 20-30 min at 150°C or until golden, be careful not to over cook or burn.
  • Leave it to cool down and store the granola into an air-tight container so it keeps nice and fresh. You can add the dried fruits once the granola has cooled down.
The smell that comes out of the jar when you open it…..it´s amazing!


For the Jam

This jam recipe is from a book I love and I will tell you about it one of these days. It´s from Amber Rose ´Love, Bake and Nourish´. This is a simple jam made with fresh berries, apples and honey. You can use this with yogurt and granola for a nice breakfast pot, or spread it over a slice of bread or with pancakes or even use it hot with ice cream as Amber Rose suggests in her book. 


The original recipe makes approximately 800 g of jam, but I made half of it.



  • 125 g of raspberries
  • 125 g of blueberries
  • 3 Brampley apples, peeled, cored and cut in cubes
  • 100 g of honey
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste


  • Put all ingredients in a saucepan, sprinkle over a few tablespoons of water cover with a lid and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes or until the apples have softened and turned into a coloured mash.


  • I like to cook the jam with a bit of a citric flavour so when adding a bit of water I always add a few drops of lemon or orange juice.
  • Also, I cooked the jam with a cinnamon stick….just because I am so addicted to the flavour.



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Orange, Pistachio and Almond Cake

The Birthday Cake 


If you ask me what kind of cake I would like to eat on my birthday, I would very likely say something that involves layers, and a type of frosting which could or not involve mascarpone, or cream, lemon curd or even chocolate…fruits and a citrus taste..a cake that makes that type of slice full of layers of guilty pleasure because in the end it´s your birthday!

But this time was not possible, as we had to drive for at least 5 hours to spend the weekend with friends, I felt that a loaf would be a wiser choice to travel with!

We started the day very early and singing Happy Birthday in Portuguese, English and Spanish…and blew up the candles each time!!!


After 5 hours we all arrived safe and sound to Benasque…including the Birthday Cake and by the end of the day we sung again and again as T was also celebrating his 28th month of life!




Orange, Pistachio and Almond Cake

Some years ago I went to Café Murano in London and tried for the first time a Pistachio and Olive Oil cake. After that day, I did a massive search for a recipe that could resemble the amazing flavours of that piece of heaven. I found one from the Australian Goodfood website which I have been making since then. You can find the original recipe here.


I replace the totality of the plain flour and polenta for almond meal, it combines very well with the pistachios and the citrus flavours. It was the first time I baked it on a loaf tin as I felt it was easier to travel with but you can also bake it on a round tin or even on a square one and serve it in little type of brownie squares with a scoop of berries ice cream.

You can now find a link to all recipes on the blog on my Susana Random Ss board on Pinterest and you can do a direct pin to your own Pinterest account.


  • 100 g almond meal
  • 200 g shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 g castor sugar
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste or vanilla flavour (optional)

For the Top:

Juice of a orange and some honey


  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  • Process the pistachios in a food processor until finely ground, add the almond meal and baking powder.
  • Melt the butter and add it to the olive oil.
  • Whisk the eggs with the sugar until smooth.
  • Add the oil and butter mixture.
  • Whisk in the pistachio mixture.
  • Whisk in the juices and zest.
  • Bake in a greased and floured tin for 45 minutes or until the skewer inserted in the centres of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool.
  • If you like cover the cake with some orange juice and honey mixture for a more wet and moist cake. 



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Ski or not to Ski!


So, after much stress, some pain (not much though!) and lots of sweat…the answer is: to Ski!

I confess that during the first class I went through several stages…after the first 20 minutes I wanted to cry; the heavy boots, the skis, and the warm weather…I was already tired and the class was far from starting! 

Then, I simply wanted to quit and just accept that skiing was not for me…but suddenly all I have learnt during the first hour and a half started to make sense, and bit by bit slowly and with the help of two super cool teachers we moved down through a full green slope and it was a great feeling! 


Just by chance I chose classes with the Escuela Española de Esqui Cerler and would choose it again as both instructors were very good and gave me the confidence and the tips needed to make me want to repeat and learn more! 

In the end….no falls, no fear and no poles and some hip moves and singing came along! The last day was dedicated only to learn how to turn side to side…not as easy as going straight and break but super fun to learn! I had a very attentive spectator at the end of the class!


For these days we were in the Ski resort of Cerler, which is situated just above the cute village of Cerler in the Benasque Valley in the heart of the Pyrenees and near the town of Benasque where we stayed. 

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It was a busy weekend with a bank holiday on Monday and we will all probably think twice about going on long weekends as it was very full. Still, it was a wonderful weekend with friends, good food and some drinks.

The Ski resort has a play area for kids and also offers childcare facilities which in such a busy weekend were full so we had to organise the time well and ski in turns and handle a 2 years old energetic boy in the snow….but all good with help of super friends as well!


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 Benasque is a beautiful place with a lake and a river passing by, it is cosy and the mountain scenarios are just gorgeous. There are playgrounds for kids just in the centre near several tapas places where we could enjoy a drink and still play a bit! A suggestion for dinner or for an aperitivo is El Veedor de Viandas, the food is great, the wine as well and the warm carrot cake to die for! Everything you want after a day in the snow!

We got sunny days and blue skies all the time and although for skiing was in my opinion a bit too warm, for walks was just perfect!



We also had Father´s Day on Sunday and a there was a special kiss and a little present for dad which T did at nursery! 


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So in the end…I managed to start my 36´s not on the floor as I initially thought and more importantly I enjoyed every single bit of the skiing! Ski Season 2017/18 here we go!



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 Hello 36 !!! 

 It´s my Birthday! I turn 36 today, T completes 27 months and it’s also St Patrick’s Day! 

As you know I love birthdays and celebrations in general and my birthday is not an exception!

Luckily this year we have a long weekend ahead and we are going away for some days!!! It is also Father´s day on Sunday!!!

Although I am not a big fan of Snow and I don´t Ski or do Snowboard (shocking I know!!!) we are indeed going on a ski trip with friends!!! 

I always felt skiing was not for me. I love the beautiful white scenarios and the gorgeous views from the cafés where I seat having a hot chocolate, or a glass of wine while reading a book and enjoying the quietness… those heavy boots, the slippery skis and the clothes that apart from Kate Middleton (and I am still not sure) don´t look good on anyone are just too much!!

But this year I promised I would give it another chance as my first attempt many years ago was a disaster to say the least! So to set an example for T, who will likely be mastering the art of skiing in a couple of years, I decided to book some classes and give it a go!

Therefore that´s how I will start my 36´s …literally on the floor!!!!

Wish me luck and follow all the fun stories and T first snow adventures on my Instagram.

We are all packed, and of course there is a cake travelling with us as well…a very “travel friendly type of cake” for obvious reasons but although very simple it smells deliciously!

An Orange, Pistachio and Almond Cake

I promise to share the recipe on the next post!


St Patrick’s Day

While living in the UK, my birthday would always involve a pint of Guinness (only a few sips for me) in an Irish Pub somewhere in Birmingham or London and sometimes a funny green hat! A celebration that I became very found of. Every year on this day, I remember my 31st birthday and the St Patrick´s parade in NYC…what an event! 



Have a Good Weekend and Happy St Patrick’s Day


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A Morning S for my Sister


Yesterday when chatting with my sister she told me about this recipe of oats and coconut that she tried for her breakfast…Ok, until here nothing special but then she mentioned the magic word!


It was no longer a typical simple oats or porridge recipe…Oh No.. this one is The Ultimate Porridge Recipe! 

For all women reading, you know that there are those days when sugar cravings take the best out of you and you cannot resist…well for me it has been all this week and as it´s my birthday week I have been slightly ignoring my diet restrictions ….

Bowl and Napkin – Zara Home new SS17 collection

For all men reading…this is a quick and easy recipe to cook and make your woman smile on those grumpy annoying days!

This recipe is all you want, healthy with a simple chocolaty taste, very fulfilling to help you start your day with a smile!

It´s so so tasty and smells so nice that it was difficult to photograph as all I wanted was to quietly seat and try it! 


I can give my Sister many Ss for the many things she is but definitely today my S goes for her to have shared this recipe with me and for all her friends and gymnastic teacher at Centro de Pré e Pós Parto from whom I always hear such nice cooking tips and advice! Well done girls!


Coconut and Dark Chocolate Porridge Oats


For the ones asking, the chocolate I use for all my baking and no baking chocolate recipes is this Lindt 70% for cooking.

In London I always used Green&Blacks for cooking or the dark 85% with Madagascar vanilla but here in Madrid the Lindt one is the one I find that gives me the best results and therefore I keep with it…until a London friend pops by for a visit!


This is my version of my Sister´s recipe, hope you enjoy!

Serves 1 portion


  • 50 g oats
  • 150 ml of milk (you can use what you like, coconut milk, almond milk and also play with amounts depending if you like a more creamy or drier porrige)
  • 1 tsp of coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean past or vanilla flavour
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 little square of dark chocolate (I used Lindt cooking 70% cocoa)

For the Top:

Toasted chopped hazelnuts, shredded coconut toasted and red berries


  • In a saucepan add all the ingredients apart from the chocolate. Bring it to boil over a medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until you get a creamy porridge texture (this should be very quick). Taste and add more vanilla or cinnamon if you want to.
  • Remove from the heat and add the little square of chocolate and mix until it melts.
  • Pour the mixture into a serving bowl and top it with the chopped toasted hazelnuts, coconut and add the berries.


  • You can add whichever toppings you like, chocolate and nuts are always a perfect combination, so toasted almonds and walnuts or brazilian nuts suit perfectly! Banana would suit too! 
  • To toast the shredded coconut and the hazelnuts I simply did it in a saucepan over the hob very quickly.



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Cake for Breakfast


Every morning when I ask T what he wants for breakfast he says “Bolo” or “Bollo” or in case he wakes more tuned to English (one never knows) he asks for Cake…obviously during the week he ends up with different options and cake is not one of them! Only on special days!

But weekend breakfasts are different…we set the table, make fresh squeezed juices and toasts or some easy pancakes…but on Friday night I found an extra bit of energy and baked a Banana Bread with a twist…


Saturday morning when I told him he was having cake for breakfast…was pure joy!


And there was some posing…with hungry faces as well!


 We had a full weekend with friends and breakfasts and brunches and it was nice to meet new places. The Reina Sofia Museum restaurant Nubel it´s a nice modern space and offers different brunch options and on Saturdays and Sundays you have a free entrance to the museum in the afternoon. 

This time we went for a charity brunch for the Alphabet Club , a non profit organisation focusing in helping children in need. It last until late with an after brunch party and the good weather made the space outside very pleasant for a drink…definitely a place to visit. 


Another good surprise of the weekend was to “re-meet” the brunch by Café Oliver which is now in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood at the Totem Hotel in Hermosos y Malditos.

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A beautiful cosy place very lightly with a nice atmosphere, friendly staff and very good food! The brunch is top…But prepare to eat slowly and enjoy the company and then plan for a walk through the neighbourhood shops as it is very filling to say the least! 

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The staff took T to visit the kitchen…and the bread was very good so he was happy! 

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This is my birthday week and so many plans ahead, so stay tuned as a super S is coming! For now I am trying to get some inspiration for the birthday cake and some others that I will bake for the birthday trip!


Banana Bread…with a twist

This Banana Bread is a mixture of banana and a chocolatey flavour that actually doesn’t come from chocolate…it´s from ´Alfarroba´ or Carob which is a fruit known by being a healthy replacement of chocolate.


You can buy carob flour nowadays in natural health shops or good supermarkets quite easily. You can find it on Wholefoods or Amazon too. It cannot be used alone as in my opinion will be a very strong flavour but is very nice when combined. For this recipe I chose to mix it with almond meal and a little bit of plain flour. 

The smell of the cake while baking is great and the flavours combine perfectly…the almonds give a nice moist texture and the carob/alfarroba a super chocolatey taste.



  • 100 g almonds meal
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 25 g carob/alfarroba flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 50 g coconut oil
  • 75 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g honey
  • 100 g of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste/vanilla flavour



  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and prepare a loaf tin with baking paper.
  • Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • In another mixing bowl add the melted butter and coconut oil to the honey and sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at the time and add the mashed bananas and the vanilla. 
  • Fold in the flour mixture and combine well without over-mix.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour or until the skewer inserted in the centres of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool.


  • You can leave some little pieces of banana unmashed if you want to find them in the cake while eating.
  • This is a cake that you can slice and freeze and then toast and have it ready for a nice cup of coffee or tea.



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