Chocolate Cake with Ganache


Christmas’ eve dinner is approaching in full-speed mode, meaning the time to think about the menu is flying right by. At my house, we usually have cod with boiled potatoes, eggs and cabbage, all topped with olive oil. Its tradition and, don’t ask me how or why, it’s actually the only time of the year when eating such meal is actually a pleasure. For some reason, it doesn’t taste as good on other dates. When it comes to desserts, we have an endless list of amazingly delicious sweets, ranging from Rabanadas to Sonhos, with Filhoses in between. While I’m not very fond of any of these, I encourage you to make them. They’re typical in Portugal and really really good. But since I prefer other types of desserts, this year this chocolate cake will keep me company.

This cake is amazing. I’ve already baked it three times, since finding it at Pratos e Travessas last month, and not only is it delicious every time, it’s also super easy to make. And eat. Before diving into the recipe, let me just tell you how amazing this blog is. The recipes are unbelievable and so are the photos. As you may have noticed, I have a super soft spot for food photography. Monica’s photos are one of the reason’s why. From the food, to the props, everything is perfectly placed to make me drool over my keyboard.

Now back to the cake. It’s perfection. As much as I love chocolate, I usually have to pair chocolate cakes with something more acidic, like berries, to be able to eat an whole slice. I didn’t have that issue with this cake. I just kept on eating, never feeling the need of another flavor.

I know it’s not your typical Christmas dessert. But I promise you it will earn it’s place ate your dinner table. As it has earned it’s place on mine.

Continue reading “Chocolate Cake with Ganache”

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Today I bring you what I believe to be one of the greatest snacks of all time. Chocolate chip cookies are the ultimate buddy when binge watching TV series, along with a cup of milk.I begin with one, go back to the kitchen to get another and, eventually, I surrender and bring along the whole package. Talk about control.

But apart from being so addictive, these chocolate chip cookies also make one of the best DIY Christmas’ gifts. I mean, who wouldn’t love to receive a jar full of this goodness? They’re chewy on the inside but oh-so crispy on the edges. And taking the time to make your loved ones these will be the ultimate proof of affection. And I assure they scream success. And with finding gifts becoming sooooooo stressful and difficult, who doesn’t want a recipe like this?

So I encourage you to give these a try. To eat by yourself, to share or to give this as a gift, they’ll not disappoint you. Or whoever you love.

Continue reading “Chocolate Chip Cookies”

Simple Hot Chocolate


As soon as cold days arrive, hot chocolate becomes my favorite beverage. I’m not a big fan of hot drinks, apart from tea. I drink milk straight out of the fridge even if snow is falling outside. Iced Tea continues to be my indulgence. But when it comes to hot chocolate, there’s no way of saying no.

It’s also one of those drinks you can enjoy on your own or, as I prefer, with your family. It’s not actually a tradition at my house, but I do remember getting excited as a kid whenever my aunt went to the kitchen to make us all Hot Chocolate.

I like it in pretty much every version. Simple, White Chocolate, with Nutella, Milk Chocolate, you name it. And while I do want to try this different versions of my number one winter beverage, today I decided to bring you the basic one.

This cup of wonder is made by simply melting dark chocolate with water and a cinnamon stick, add milk, a pinch of salt and topping with whipped cream. There’s no science to it. It’s actually hardly a recipe. Yet, it brings such comfort that it deserves it’s highlight. So here it is 🙂

Continue reading “Simple Hot Chocolate”

White Chocolate and Lime Mousse


I tried to endure Black Friday and brave the looooooong lines. I just couldn’t. There was way to many people per square meter and nothing worth the wait nor the headaches of being in such environment. So I ended up taking shelter at the book section of the supermarket. And what a gem did I find.

The only program I watch featuring Gordon Ramsay is MasterChef US. It’s actually a ritual my boyfriend and I have, watching the show the day after it’s available in the USA. I do prefer the Australian version (the contestants seem much nicer to each other?), but I can’t say no to most cooking shows and competitions, and reality is I do learn quite a lot watching this shows. The thing is, I ended up being “introduced” to Gordon in a much nicer way than watching Hell’s Kitchen. And so my admiration dor The Chef began.

I started to actually look into Gordon’s career, his signature dishes, his restaurants and, more importantly, the shows where HE cooks. And what great shows they are. He does use ingredients that are out of reach for my student’s budget, but, mostly, his recipes are simple to follow, have easy to find ingredients, are hearty and, mostly, delicious.

That’s why I got so excited when I found his book, Ultimate Home Cooking, at almost half the price, lost in one of the shelves. I just had to buy it. I already read it cover to cover, drooling over the pictures and wanting to cook everything. And decided to begin with this white chocolate and lime mousse and an amazing beetroot risotto (which I’ll bring to you later).

According to my boyfriend, and taster, this one of the best desserts I’ve ever made. I have to agree. The mousse texture was pure heaven. I don’t think I can even describe it. I’ll let you try for yourself and see how right we are. Thank me later 🙂

Continue reading “White Chocolate and Lime Mousse”

Roasted Spiced Chicken


Thanksgiving’s here. Living in Portugal, there’s no celebration of the holiday- no turkey, cranberry sauce, apple pie or spending hours in the kitchen. Still, I decided to sort of get into the spirit of the day and cook this beautiful roasted chicken.

I believe in food that get’s family, be it by blood or friendship, together around a dinner table. I think I got it from my grandma- every Sunday she cooks lunch for our whole family and, despite the fact that we all live in very different places now, we still try to get together and eat together. Food is meant to bring people together, or so I believe. And this roasted chicken does just that.

It’s a recipe you have to leave in the oven for a long time, to achieve that perfect balance between tenderness and juiciness (so hard to get when cooking chicken), and it smells, and tastes, amazing. There’s no denying I fell in love with this recipe. So much that this will definitely be Sunday lunch whenever I’m in charge, in the future. I hope you love it as much.

As for thanksgiving- I believe we should be thankful for what we have everyday, but with all the rush the world lives in, it’s good we have a day to remind us of that. I hope you have a lot to be thankful for. As for me, I’m thankful for my family, my boyfriend, my incredible friends and being able to be studying to do what I love the most as a job. And, obviously, for this blog, a true friend and an outlet for the, sometimes, everyday mayhem.

Recipe adapted from: Half Baked Harvest

Continue reading “Roasted Spiced Chicken”

Pear French Toast


The weekend went by way too fast. It was one of those times where I had a whole lot of things planned and ended up doing none. Classic me. The saddest part is that I was supposed to bake chocolate chip cookies and make a killer steak with béarnaise sauce. And I can’t stop thinking that I failed my stomach. I mean, it was expecting cookies and steak. And I gave it frozen lasagna, which is good but not the same. Definitely not the same.

My Sunday morning went by as fast as the whole weekend, meaning, I overslept. Not that I believe in oversleeping on a Sunday morning, but when you’re supposed to have lunch anywhere but your house I think you’re supposed to wake up early enough to at least take a nice shower and dress. Let’s just say I did all of that on maximum speed.

This also means there was no Sunday brunch for me. No pancakes, eggs Benedict or this amazing Pear French Toast bake. I made it a couple of weeks ago and definitely want to make it again. It’s a fragrant dish, sweet, and perfect for a laid-back morning. It’s also super easy and fast to make, meaning you won’t have to wake up early to prepare it. And not having to wake up early is always a plus 😉

Continue reading “Pear French Toast”

Spinach, Zucchini and Coconut Milk Soup

IMG_0287.jpgTemperatures dropped A LOT this past weekend. Lisbon’s weather is kind of bipolar, so I’m not sure if there’s a hint of summer still to come, but I’m in full “blanket and tea” mode now. And, as long as the rain stays out of the way, I’m pretty ok with it. I love cold sunny days. Not that I don’t miss summer, but this is the perfect weather for a city stroll or to eat bread as hot as it can get. And, of course, it’s a time when a simple soup does the trick for dinner.

I love experimenting with soups. They’re really versatile and a life-saver whenever I have leftover veggies. Just today I made a delicious creamy soup out of a butternut squash on the verge of becoming rot and now have a great option for the chaotic lunch hours ahead of me this week. But back to soups.

They really are like a blank canvas. If you have water and veggies, pretty much any, you’re good to go. And, recently, I found another member for the soup club: spices. I started with an amazing curry soup, for which I found the recipe on a diet book. And then, I found THIS. This soup is incredible. It’s creamy. It’s delicious. It’s exotic. I never thought about using coconut milk in a soup recipe and here I am. Ready to try it again.

This soup flavors will warm you  and leave you wanting more. Even the more sceptic living with me found this to be amazing. And it is. And you should try it. Really you should. And let this soup be a mate for the coming cold days.

Continue reading “Spinach, Zucchini and Coconut Milk Soup”

Swedish Chocolate Cake


One of the things I love the most about living on my own is that I’m able to host dinner parties pretty much when I want to. As much as I appreciate a quiet night tucked in a blanket and watching re-runs of How I Met Your Mother, there’s nothing quite like having your friends over, catch up and, obviously, get their insight on your latest kitchen endeavors. If you don’t like a recipe I’ve posted, well, my friends are the ones to blame! (kidding :p)

Chocolate cake is the dessert I feel never misses the spot. This one in particular, is not only super easy to make but a constant hit. And, if you feel like having your friends over after a loooooong day working, this one is definitely a good choice since it takes almost no time to make. It has a strong dark chocolate flavor to it so Vanilla Ice cream or Lemon sorbet are always a good addition to a slice of this wonder.

Continue reading “Swedish Chocolate Cake”

4 Cheese Butternut Squash Farfalle


First of all, let me apologize for not bringing you a Halloween recipe. I intended to do so, but let’s just say the cake I ended up with was scary. Literally. I’ll try to make it up by giving you the recipe for this “out-of-this-world” bake. It’s cheesy (really really cheesy) and that says it all. I mean, what better than decadent, comfort food, to bury the sorrows of a missed chocolate cake?

This recipe is based on the Baked 4 Cheese Butternut Squash Rigatoni by Half Baked Harvest. I cannot stress how much I love this blog enough. I discovered it recently, while searching for a new lasagna recipe. I ended up with loads of recipes and a new source of inspiration. I’ll just say every darn photo on her blog is mouthwatering. And let you discover the rest 🙂

For my take on her recipe, I cut off some ingredients that aren’t that easy to find on a Portuguese supermarket, changed times and oven temperature to its metric equivalent. It turned out delicious 🙂

Continue reading “4 Cheese Butternut Squash Farfalle”