Madrid Sights and a Tip for a day out!

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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! 

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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! 

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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.

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 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. 

Travel/Parking:

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 

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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!

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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

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Crepioca for Breakfast

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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.

INGREDIENTS

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).

INSTRUCTIONS

  • 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 

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A Summer Fruit Bake 

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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.

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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!

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

INSTRUCTIONS

  • 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!

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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

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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.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 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

INSTRUCTIONS

  • 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!

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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!

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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!

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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!”

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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!

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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!

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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!

Enjoy!

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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!  

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Makes ˜ 22 (depending on individual size)

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

INSTRUCTIONS

  • 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!

Tips

  • 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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