Blog

Flourless Coconut Cookies (bolachinhas de côco sem farinha)

IMG_6301

These Flourless Coconut Cookies are absolutely delicious, they combine the sweet caramel of dates, with the nutritional rich cashews to the healthy coconut omegas.

They are easy to make and only have 5 simple wholesome ingredients. Making it a perfect snack.

These healthy Flourless Coconut Cookies are vegan, gluten-free and packed with goodness.

  • 1 cup shredded coconut _ toasted*
  • 1+1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate (chips or a chopped bar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
* How to toast coconut

Place a small frying pan over medium-low heat and add the coconut. Stir all the way through the process, until the coconut begins to turn light golden brown. Then remove the coconut to a bowl or plate to cool.

Alternately, you can toast the coconut in the oven.

How to make the coconut cookies

Place the dates in the food processor, and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides. Then add the cashews and pulse until the mixture is combined.

Add the toasted coconut and pulse until starts to form a ball of dough.

Remove the dough from the food processor, roll the mixture into small balls, and flatten with your hands, shaping into a round cookie.

Using a chopstick poke a hole in the middle of each cookie.

Place the cookies on a sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat and put it in the freezer to harden up a bit, while you prepare the chocolate.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave with the coconut oil and drizzle the tops of the cookies using a spoon. Place in the fridge for a few minutes to set.

PT:
  • 1 caneca de côco ralado _ torrado *
  • 1+1/2 caneca de tâmara
  • 1 caneca cajus
  • 1/3 caneca de chocolate preto (pepitas ou de barra)
  • ½ colher de chá de óleo de côco
* Como torrar o côco

Colocar o côco numa frigideira em lume médio-baixo e ir mexendo até que comece a ficar douradinho. Neste ponto retirar o côco do lume e transferir para uma tigela ou prato. 

Em alternativa, pode-se torrar o côco no forno. 

Como fazer as bolachinhas de côco 

Colocar as tâmaras no processador de alimentos e processar até que fique homogêneo, parando para raspar as paredes laterais se necessário. 

Adicionar os cajus e pulsar até que a mistura esteja combinada. De seguida, adicionar o côco torrado e pulsar até começar a formar uma bola de massa.

Retirar a massa do processador de alimentos, rolar a mistura em pequenas bolas e achatar com a mão, moldando um biscoito redondo.

Usando um pauzinho chinês, fazer um buraco no meio de cada biscoito.

Colocar as bolachinhas num tabuleiro forrado com papel manteiga ou folha num tapete de silicone. Colocar no para endurecerem um pouco, enquanto se prepara o chocolate.

Derreter o chocolate no microondas com o óleo de côco e com uma colher decorar as bolachinhas com o chocolate.

Colocar no frigorifico por alguns minutos para solidificar o chocolate.

IMG_6302

SaveSave

Banana with Oporto Wine & Spices (Banana em vinho do porto e especiarias)

This recipe of Banana with Oporto Wine & spices is so good! In a few minutes, you transform simple bananas into a drool-worthy snack or dessert.

The Banana with Oporto Wine is made with the famous Portuguese wine, produced in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal.  This easy recipe will surprise all your senses, and no one will resist this decadent vegan dessert with warm spices.

  • 4 bananas
  • 1/2 cup of Oporto wine
  • 3 tbsp dark sugar
  •  1cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 4 cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 star anise

Peel the bananas cut them in half lengthwise and then in half across.

Put all the ingredients in a large frying pan. Let it cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, turning the bananas over halfway through.

The Banana with Oporto Wine can be eaten straight away as it is or makes a perfect topping for pancakes, oats or even ice cream for an indulgent dessert.

Serve and enjoy this delicious and healthy treat!

PT:
  • 4 bananas
  • 1/2 caneca de vinho do Porto
  • 3 colheres de sopa de açúcar mascavado
  • 1 pau de canela
  • 2 colheres de sopa de sementes de abóbora
  • 2 anis estrelados 
  • 4 cardamomos
  • 2 cravos da india

Descascar as bananas; cortar ao meio em comprimento e depois a meio.

Colocar todos os ingredientes numa frigideira grande antiaderente, e deixar cozinhar em lume médio por aproximadamente 10 minutos, virando as bananas a meio.

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Vegan Parmesan Cheese (parmesão vegano)

IMG_6299

This vegan parmesan cheese is easy to prepare, and for me tastes even better than the real one. It’s cheesy, savory, nutty and super versatile.
It takes only five minutes to prepare and there’s no cooking involved. Plus it’s healthier than normal cheese.
This vegan parmesan cheese goes really well with lots of different dishes. So if you have a permanent batch of this in your refrigerator, you can sprinkle it on absolutely everything.  I love it so much, that sometimes I just eat it with a spoon 😅
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until you get a fine meal.
Taste and adjust the garlic, salt and, nutritional yeast if needed.
Store in a glass jar at room temperature, or in the fridge for several weeks.
PT:

Este queijo parmesão vegano é fácil de preparar e, para mim, tem um sabor ainda melhor do que o original.

Leva apenas cinco minutos a preparar e não envolve tachos nem panelas. Além disso, é mais saudável que o queijo normal.

O queijo parmesão vegano vai muitíssimo bem com inúmeros pratos. O ideal mesmo, é ter sempre um fraco de parmesão em stock no frigorifico. Eu gosto tanto tanto deste queijo que às vezes o como à colherada.

  • 1 caneca de caju cru
  • 4 c. de sopa de levedura nutricional
  • 1/2 c. de chá de sal
  • 1 c. de chá de alho em pó

Adicionar todos os ingredientes a um processador de alimentos e pulsar até que esteja tudo triturado.

Provar e ajustar o alho, sal e levedura nutricional, se necessário.

Guardar num frasco de vidro à temperatura ambiente, ou no frigorifico, por várias semanas.

IMG_6300 SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

Homemade raw apple cider vinegar (vinagre de maçã)

IMG_6394Making your own apple cider vinegar it’s easy and inexpensive, but takes time.

  • 3 apples (peeled if not organic) or 6 apples if you are using just the scraps.
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • filtered water (just enough to cover the apples – and ensure they are submerged )

Wash and chop your apples into small pieces and place them in a sterilized* wide mouth jar.

Stir the sugar into the water until it’s mostly dissolved, and pour over the apples until they are completely submerged.

Weigh down the apples* and make sure there are no apples exposed to the air because they will get mouldy.

Cover the jar with a cheesecloth,  paper towel or even a coffee filter so the liquid can release the gasses created during the fermentation process and to keep out the fruit flies. Hold it with a rubber band.

Store in a dark and warm place for ~3 weeks. Check on it every few days to make sure the apples are staying under water.

After 3 weeks, strain out the liquid and discard the apples. Return the liquid to the jar and cover it again and leave it in the same place for  3 to 4 weeks more, to continue to ferment until it becomes vinegar.

The best way to see if its ready is to taste it and see if you like the acidity, as it is. But you will also feel the unmistakable vinegary smell. If you think is not ready yet simply allow it to sit a bit longer.

When the acidity is good for you and you are happy with the taste, transfer it to a bottle with a lid and begin using it.

Notes:
  • * The apple pieces tend to float to the surface, but that can’t happen, because the apples will get mouldy so use something to keep them submerged under the water. You can use a fermentation weight or a smaller glass jar and set it on top of the apples.
  • If you see any mold discard and start over.
  • Bubbles mark the start of the fermentation process.
  • The white scum that forms on top of your ferment is good. It is a natural outcome of the fermentation.
  • If a gelatinous blob/scoby develops on the top of your vinegar, that is the “mother”. If you are planning to carry on making your own vinegar put it in a glass jar, covered with 1/2 inch of the vinegar and keep it in the fridge for your next batch.
How to sterilise jars *

Wash, rinse and drain the jars.

Put the jars in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Then drain upside down on a clean tea towel and dry in the oven.

PT:

Fazer o nosso próprio vinagre de maçã é fácil e barato, mas leva algum tempo.

  • 3 maçãs (descascadas, se não forem orgânicas) ou cascas e caroços de 6 maçãs 
  • 3 colheres de chá de açúcar mascavo
  • água filtrada (apenas o suficiente para cobrir as maçãs – e garantir que elas estejam submersas)

Lavar e cortar as maçãs em pedaços pequenos e colocá-las num franco de boca larga esterilizado*.

Misturar o açúcar na água até que esteja dissolvido e despejar sobre as maçãs até que estejam completamente submersas.

Certifica-te que não há maçãs expostas ao ar *, elas tem de estar completamente submersas caso contrario vão ganhar bolor.

Cobrir o frasco com pano ou um filtro de café, para que o líquido possa liberar os gases criados pelo processo de fermentação e para manter afastadas as moscas da fruta. Segurar com um elástico.

Guardar o franco num local escuro e quente por cerca de 3 semanas. Espreitar de vez em quando para confirmar se as maçãs estão debaixo de água.

Após 3 semanas, filtrar o liquido e descartar as maçãs. Depois colocar o liquido novamente no frasco, cobrir e deixar no mesmo lugar por mais 3 a 4 semanas, para continuar a fermentar até que se torne vinagre.

A melhor maneira de ver se o vinagre está pronto é prová-lo e ver se a acidez está boa.

Contudo, quando está pronto também se sente o inconfundível cheiro de vinagre. Se achares que ainda não está bom, deixe-o ficar um pouco mais tempo a fermentar.

Quando a acidez e o sabor estão ao teu gosto, transfere para uma garrafa com tampa e esta pronto a usar.

Notas:
  • *Os pedaços de maçã tendem a flutuar, mas isso não pode acontecer, porque as maçãs ganharão bolor. É essencial usar algo para mantê-las submersas na água. Pode-se usar um peso de fermentação ou um frasco de vidro mais pequeno e colocá-lo em cima das maçãs para mantê-las submersas.
    Se as maças começarem a ganhar bolor, é preciso deitar tudo fora e começar de novo.
  • Bolhas de ar marcam o início do processo de fermentação.
  • A espuma branca que se forma no topo é boa. É um resultado natural da fermentação e é o que forma a “mãe” passadas poucas semanas.
  • Se uma bolha gelatinosa se desenvolve no topo do vinagre, essa é a “mãe”. Se estás  a planear continuar a fazer o teu próprio vinagre, coloca a “mãe” num franco de vidro, coberto com  vinagre e guarde-a no frigorifico para o próximo lote.
Como esterilizar frascos *

Lavar os frascos e enxaguar bem. Colocar os frascos numa panela grande de água a ferver por 10 minutos. Depois deixar escorrer de cabeça para baixo numa toalha limpa e secar o restante no forno.

Bacharach a charming town of the Rhine Valley

Bacharach

Along the Rhine, there are plenty of charming towns that will make you step back in time. Bacharach is undoubtedly for me, one of the prettiest of the Rhine villages.

The last time I visited Bacharach was in February, and I was lucky enough to have a snow day.  This small German medieval town is definitely a must during any season, but you can’t deny that the snow adds a little something else.

Wondering through Bacharach by itself is already an amazing experience. Bacharach is a charming small town behind a 14th-century wall, with narrow cobblestone streets, and historic buildings with half-timbered mansions involved by imposing vineyards.

The Stahleck Castle marks it’s presence up from the hill, with a breathtaking view of the Rhine river.

There are several paths leading up to the castle and down to town. It can be a bit steep and slippery in places with the snow and the ice, but the views are worthy. The courtyard of the castle overlooks the Rhine and the valley of Lorelei.

The tiny Bacharach is easily reachable by train. The train journey stretches along the Rhine river, and the journey is simply amazing dotted with castles, vines and, small historical towns.

The Rhine Gorge is like something out of a fairytale with castles dotted as far as the eye can see, medieval towns, and great wine.

Personally, I recommend Bacharach as a day out. Because there will be more and better options for accommodation and food elsewhere, plus the train journey is easy, comfortable and the views a delight.

If you do decide to overnight, there are plenty of options including the castle. Yes! it’s true, they transformed the 12th century fortified castle into a hostel.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

Banana Muffins with nuts (Queques de Banana e frutos secos)

IMG_5669

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 70g oat flour
  • 4 medium ripe bananas
  • 200ml water
  • 40g coconut oil
  • ~30-40 ml maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 flax egg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup pecan
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins
Topping
  • oats
  • nuts
  • cinnamon
  • brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 200ºC, make the flax egg and set aside.

Mix all the ingredients together (except the raisins, cranberries, and nuts) in a large bowl. Then gently fold in the raisins, cranberries, and nuts.

Spoon the batter into your muffin molds. Fill each muffin about 2/3 full with the prepared batter. Sprinkle over with the toppings.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

IMG_5668

PT:
  • 250g farinha branca com fermento 250g
  • 70g de farinha de aveia
  • 4 bananas maduras médias
  • 200 ml de água
  • 40g de óleo de coco
  • ~30-40 ml de xarope de acer
  • 4 colheres de sopa de açúcar mascavo
  • 2 ovos de linhaça 
  • 2 colheres de chá de fermento em pó
  • 1 colher de chá de extrato de baunilha
  • 2 colheres de chá de canela 
  • 1/4 colher de chá de bicarbonato de sódio
  • 1/2 caneca de sultanas 
  • 1 caneca de arando vermelho seco (cranberries)
  • 1/2 caneca de nozes-pecan
  • 1/2 caneca de nozes picadas

Cobertura

  • aveia
  • nozes
  • açúcar mascavo
  • canela

Pré-aquecer o forno a 200ºC, fazer o ovo de linhaça e reservar.

Misture todos os ingredientes  com exceção das passas, cranberries e nozes num processador de alimentos. De seguida, envolver as passas, cranberries e nozes com uma colher de pau.

Colocar a massa em moldes de muffin, cerca de 2/3 cheia, polvilhar com ingredinetes à escolha e levar ao forno por 20 minutos ou até que estejam cozidos por todo.

SaveSaveSaveSave

Vegan oat cookies (bolachas de aveia veganas)

2016-06-27 18.15.33.jpg

This vegan oat cookies are super healthy and perfect for a breakfast, a post-workout snack or just for when you are craving something sweet.

Forget the eggs, the sugar, the flour, the butter, the milk, the oil… All you need is 👇

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup of quick oats
  • 6 dates sliced
  • 3 tbsp organic cocoa powder

Mash the bananas in a bowl, add the oats, the dates and the cocoa powder and and mix well. Place small scoops of this dough on a baking tray and bake at 180°C for about 15 minutes.

Tips: add chocolate chips, coconut flakes, seeds, nuts, raisins etc.

PT:

Estas bolachas são incrívelmente saudáveis e perfeitas para o pequeno-almoço, lanche, ou qualquer outra altura em que se deseje algo doce.

Esquece os ovos , o açúcar, a farinha, a manteiga , o óleo, o leite … tudo o que precisas é👇  

  • 2 bananas maduras 
  • 1 chávena de aveia
  • 6 tâmaras cortadas finamente 
  • 3 c. sopa de cacau organico em pó

Esmagar as bananas numa taça, acrescentar a aveia, as tâmaras, o cacao e envolver bem. Colocar pequenas quantidades desta massa num tabuleiro forrado com papel manteiga ou um tapete de silicone e levar ao forno a 180º C durante cerca de 15 minutos. 

Dicas: Adicionar pepitas de chocolate, côco ralado, sementes,  frutos secos,  etc..

Cologne travel

Cologne is mostly known for its beautiful Gothic cathedral and crazy carnival, and I was lucky enough to experience both. Cologne is also a major cultural center.

After Düsseldorf I took the train down to Cologne, the largest city of the German Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, during carnival time (Karneval).

IMG_5863

Carnival is a big deal in Germany, and the city of Cologne was unrecognizable when I arrived. There was a festive spirit in the air, lots of alcohol, music, fun, noise, crowds and thousands of people dressed up. Cologne’s Carnival is the biggest in Germany and has a long and rich history which I did not know much about, until then.

IMG_6250

The City of Cologne 

Cologne is a fairly walkable city, but if you are more of a bus person, a single ticket costs €2.80 a day pass is €8.60. Cologne also has a dense network of bike routes along the Rhine.

The river runs through the heart of old town so you can also take a cruise along the river.

IMG_6241

Altstadt (The Old Town)

Cologne doesn’t really impress with its old town since only a tiny area of historic streets survived the World War II. The reman streets are colorful and great for a wander around.

The Köln’s Dom

The world-famous Gothic cathedral, is located right next to the train station, in the center of Köln, is the fourth-tallest in the world, and luckily survived the war. The construction and details are quite impressive, and I do recommend going in the morning before everyone else arrives. Visiting the cathedral is free.

The South Tower, is 157 meters high, with 533 steps, (4€) if the weather is good you have a great panoramic view all the way over and around Cologne and the Rhine river.

The Belgian Quarter

Located outside old town, is kind of a pot mixing bits and pieces of France, Belgium and Germany. Here all the street are named after cities in Belgium, like  Brüsseler Platz, a beautiful scare surrounding a church.

There is a huge variety of local and international boutique shops, ethnic markets, restaurants, and local cafes to discover.

Ehrenfeld

It’s another area outside old town that deserves to be explored. A few years ago some well-renowned covered Ehrenfeld with stunning murals.

Art Museums & Street Art

Cologne has a number of excellent museums, like The Ludwig Museum with an impressive Pop Art collection with work from the well known Warhol and Lichtenstein, and great street art to be found around the city.  For instance, in Ehrenfeld, or Eigelstein, the key is to leave old town and walk around back streets, side streets and all the roads in between the main ones.

Some other museums are quite unusual, such as the German Olympic Museum the Chocolate Museum or the perfume museum.

If you do like museums, its best to buy the MuseumsCard (€18)

Hahnen Gate

This is one of twelve gates of the medieval city wall located in Rudolfplatz.

Skulpturen Park Köln (sculpture park) 

It is a relaxing and interesting place that combines art and nature. Artists have been commissioned, to create work that interacts creatively with the surrounded nature. The entry is free, and the park combines permanent and temporary exhibition.

Botanical Garden

Located in the north of the city, next to the zoo. It’s a great place to visit during summer and spring. The park is very well maintained, and the entrance is free.

Flea Markets

Cologne’s streets are home to an exceptionally large number of flea markets,  there you may find amazing and affordable vintage items. Even if you don’t want to buy something, it still is a nice place with a special atmosphere, to walk through looking at the antiques. If you are there to buy bargaining is a must, most of the markets also have food and beverage stalls.

The panorama tower, Köln Triangle

this impressive high-rise KölnTriangle offers a good 360-degree panorama view of Cologne, to go up they charge a €3 fee.

Love Lock Bridge

The Hohenzollern Bridge or Love Lock Bridge is completely covered with tens of thousands of padlocks, each one engraved with names, dates or something romantic.
From Old Town, you can cross one of the numerous bridges that separate the two parts of the city. From this side, there’s a great view of old town and the Cathedral.

If you have time:

Take a train and pop into some of the many picturesque towns outside of Cologne along the Rhine.

  •  Drachenfels has a spectacular castle, called the Dranchenburg Castle. 1 1/2 hours by train.
  •  Aachen is a university-town great for history-lovers, and it is close to Belgium. 1 hour by train.
  • Koblenz, is a town full of ancient history, 1.5 hour by train.
  • Mainz, its a nice little university town with a medieval center and an impressive cathedral. 1.5 hours by train.
  • Marburg is picturesque medieval hill town with narrow cobbled streets and half-timbered houses. 2.5 hours by train.

SaveSaveSaveSave

Matcha Pistachio bliss balls (bolinhas de matcha e pistáchios)

IMG_5303

These matcha pistachio bliss balls, are perfect for a healthy and on the go snack! They also freeze well and are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
For the matcha friends and lovers alike, you surely love these pistachio matcha bliss balls.

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, shelled
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
  • 2-4 tablespoons rice malt syrup (sweetness to taste)
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • raw cacao powder to dust – optional

Place all the ingredients (except cacao powder) in a food processor. Process for one minute or until finely chopped and blended.

Roll into balls with the hand slightly wet. You can optionally roll the balls in cacao powder for a chocolate coating.

Keep them in a glass container in the fridge or freezer.

IMG_5304

PT:
  • 1/2 caneca de cajus
  • 1/3 caneca de pistachios, sem casca
  • 1/4 caneca de côco ralado
  • 1 colher de sopa de óleo de coco
  • 3 colheres de chá de chá verde matcha em pó
  • 2-4 colheres de xarope de malte de arroz (doçura a gosto)
  • 1 caneca de tâmaras 
  • 1/4 colher de chá de caramono em pó
  • cacau em pó para revestir – opcional 

Colocar todos os ingredientes (exceto o cacume pó) num processador de alimentos. Processar durante um minuto ou até finamente picado e misturado.

Moldar as bolinhas com a mão ligeiramente molhada. Opcionalmente, pode-se rolar as bolas em pó de cacau para um revestimento de chocolate.

Guardar num recipiente de vidro no frigorifico ou congelador.

IMG_5306

 

SaveSave

Mainz the colourful city at the Rhine River

Mainz stretches along the Rhine at its confluence with the River Main. It’s a small university city that is more charming, beautiful and vibrant that the famous neighbors of Cologne and Frankfurt. 

Mainz is part of one of the most scenic train rides in all of Germany, to say the least. So travel by train is mandatory. You really can’t miss it, I assure that the ride will be one of the highlights of your trip to Germany.

The train journey is along the banks of the river, its a relaxing journey that dazzles with its ruins of old fortresses, beautiful castles, small medieval towns, and countless vines. Most of the towns in this line are worth a visit if you have the time.

A good way to visit them is to stay in Mainz and do a return day journey to visit some of the most historic towns along the river.

Mainz

Mainz has a charming and inviting Old Town, easily explored by foot. The historic streets impress mostly with it’s fantastic architecture, cobbled streets, beautiful half-timbered houses, small boutiques, appealing open squares, restaurants, wine bars, rustic taverns and interesting museums and churches.

The atmospheric square, where the weekly farmers market takes place is the place where the impressive Roman Catholic church from the 10th century is located. The beautiful Mainz Cathedral – Dom is perfectly situated in the heart of the city, facing the Gutenberg Museum.

This museum is one of the oldest printing museums in the world and was founded over 500 years ago. The exhibition is a journey through the writing and printing history.

Unlike the Dom, the Gutenberg museum is not free. The ticket is 5€ for adults.

From the museum when walking through the pedestrian street  “Augustinerstraße” (Augustinerstrasse), you can still see some details of the magnificent cathedral. This street leads to a Roman theatre.

The St. Stephen’s Church It’s another church that deserves a visit, for its world-famous Chagall windows. They have that name because of the ethereal stained-glass created by the Russian-Jewish artist Marc Chagall, as a symbol of the Jewish–Christian reconciliation.

A walk on the promenade along the Rhine River banks is also great.

Useful tips

  • Mainz old town is a bit more than one kilometer from the train station.
  • Cycling is also an option in Mainz, you just need the install an app to use one of the many public bicycles around town.
  • Ryanair links several European airports with Frankfurt-Hahn airport, which is closer to Mainz than Frankfurt.
  • To reach the airport from the city or the city from the airport buy online a ticket from one of the low-cost bus companies. The bus is direct and takes 1.30h.
  • If you’re a fan of Carnaval you should go in February to take part in the traditional carnival festivities.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha