Cold Melon Soup

Here in Barcelona it’s summer – hot hellish like summer. These days a heat wave struck and combined with BCN’s usual humidity, I’m far from being hungry, and all I can think of when it comes to eating is having something cold, light, healthy & easy to make. Most head for a salad or – when thinking about cold soups – a Gazpacho, but a real good alternative to those rather known summer dishes is a cold melon soup:

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Ingredients (4 servings):

1/2 ‘Piel de Sapo’ melon

1/2 cucumber (a piece about 20cm long)

2 garlic cloves

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use a special one for salads – not for cooking)

salt & pepper to season

Chives

Optional:

A few slices of Jamón Ibérico Bellota – Pata Negra

You can also add some mint leaves that you puree in the beginning with the other ingredients.

Preparation:

Peel the cucumber, cut it and the melon into even pieces, and put them into a high bowl. Peel the garlic and add it as well. Puree everything with a mixer. Add 2-3 spoons of olive oil at the end and mix well. Season with salt & pepper and leave in the fridge for at least 1h. If you want to add a bit of jamón bellota, take it out of the fridge about 20mins before serving the soup so it can evolve its full flavours at room temperature.

Fill the cold soup into soup plates. Rip the jamón gently into pieces and place those in the middle of the soup. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and garnish with some chopped chives and the entire chive stems.

The Healthy Bake (vegan & vegetarian)

Today we fancied something fast, light & healthy, yet warm for dinner. As my better half is currently having some dietary restrictions, I was giving the options a good thought and came up with this easy to make one-tray-recipe – I just love putting everything into the oven and that all comes out cooked to perfection and ready to serve:

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The Healthy Veggie Bake also makes as a perfect Side Dish

Ingredients (makes 2 servings as a main course):

1/2 big butternut squash pumpkin

1 big white sweet potato (you can also use a normal sweet potato)

4 big carrots

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)

Preparation (5mins + 30mins cooking time):

Preheat the oven (fan) to 180ºC.

Cut all the veggies into even pieces (the carrot pieces should also be a bit thicker) and place them into an oven dish (I lined mine additionally with parchment paper), drizzle some Extra Virgin Olive Oil over them and season with salt & ground black pepper. Place the oven dish on the medium level in your oven.

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Optional: Pumpkin is great combined with parmesan cheese, so if you are feeling cheesy, take the oven dish out after about 20mins and cover the vegetables in a thin layer of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and put it back into the oven for another 10mins. Enjoy!!

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Mmmmm, Parmigiano!

(Healthy) Weekend Pancakes

Pancakes – they seem to be craved by everyone recently so I decided to give it a go and finally create my own recipe of delicious & even healthy tortitas!

I’ve been trying various combinations of ingredients and came down to a healthy and a less healthy version (depending on which flour you’re using).

Ingredients for 2:

1 egg (egg replacer for my vegan friends: 1 egg = 1 TSP baking powder + 1/2 TSP baking soda + 2 TBSPs flour + 3 TBSPs water – all mixed well

1 cup of buckwheat or normal flour

2 TSPs baking powder

1 cup milk

1/2 or 1 small ripe banana

1 TSP chia seeds

2 TSPs vanilla extract or one vanilla bean

1/2 TSP cinnamon

1/3 cup raw sugar

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients well and bake in a well-greased pan (I use butter but you can also use vegetable oil) at medium temperature from each side until golden brown. I have a pancake pan so I get the same pancake size all the time – but you shouldn’t need a whole ladle filling in order to get one pancake – I get 8 pancakes out of the mix above.

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Healthy Pancakes with a Cottage Cheese, Blueberry & Agave Syrup Topping

A Tu Bola

A Tu Bola (https://www.facebook.com/Atubolabcn?fref=ts) – let’s freely translate this into English as ‘The Way You Want It’: This little gem refers to a cosy and beautiful street food restaurant in the Raval and its idea wraps itself around the ‘Bola’ – the ball – which originally got its inspiration from the well-established Falafel.

You will be able to order from a wide range of different bolas – whether you like fish, meat or vegetarian, you won’t be disappointed! – that are prepared just in front of you from fresh & healthy ingedients that have been chosen carefully by chef and owner Shira. Whether you are looking for a new menú del día option while on your lunchbreak, you stumble upon this cute restaurant while roaming the streets of the Raval as a tourist or you are meeting friends before a big night out and want to start the evening healthy, Shira’s creativity, love for good gourmet street food and high standards will ensure a perfectly healthy and delicious meal for you.

Have your bolas inside the restaurant and enjoy some craft beer with them while happily munching away to good tunes or take your bolas with you down La Rambla del Raval, sit in the sunshine and marvel at the Raval’s diversity.

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Watch chef Shira prepare the freshest & yummiest Bolas just in front of you

SweetPotatoBalls

Sweet Potato Balls in Pita Bread with Apple Coleslaw