this is the archive for the ‘foooood’ category:

rebuçados da régua

so, before the hiatus, i was going to tell you what we got as prizes in lieu of medals, when we ran in douro back in may. can you guess?


rebuçados da régua, of course! :D they’re an old-fashioned and very typical local confectionery, which is guaranteed to bring back nice memories to everyone who ever traveled in douro’s train line. some old ladies there still make them, keeping the tradition alive.


there are 9 identical sweets in each transparent bag, all wrapped in paper. the sweet is rather basic, made of melted sugar and honey, plus a few secret ingredients, they say. the result is a hard candy that looks almost like a huge amber gemstone. they’re beautiful!


aaah… tastes like nostalgia! :)

whole60: done!

one of the items on the latest 101 things in 1001 days list was to do a whole60, ie, to go 60 days without dairy, sugar, grains, legumes or alcohol. it’s a stricter version of how we normally eat.

why do it? to test an hypothesis. i knew i could do it, since i had done it before, in smaller, 30 days periods… but i wanted to see if there were any effects of running a longer experiment.


well, the two months have passed rather quickly! my back pain abated and i think my hair is falling slightly less… but with hair this long, it’s hard to say. the experiment felt a bit inclusive, but i felt great — so who cares! :)

even though it is a challenge, it’s not a hard one. the people behind the program tell it to you straight: “quitting heroin is hard. beating cancer is hard. drinking your coffee black… is not hard.” which i think helps put things in the right perspective. i find the program rather freeing, and tend to forget that there are rules in place: after a while, the choices i had made had become automatic, thus not requiring me to think about them. and the less choices, the better!

i’ve also discovered portugal is a pretty easy country to do paleo in, as there’s always a grill restaurant somewhere nearby… add some salad or steamed veggies on the side, and voilà, dinner is served in a pinch.

i’m happy it’s done, but now i’m eager to start exploring the local gastronomy! :)

the german breakfast

the april roadtrip was also an opportunity to explore german breakfast options — especially in hotels… who doesn’t love a good hotel breakfast?

turns out, they were remarkably consistent throughout the whole trip: a plate of cheese and cold cuts, a basket of bread, one boiled egg and some coffee… p. was in heaven, as he loves slathering bread with butter and then stacking layers of ham and cheese on top! :)





though i like a good espresso, i’ve also grown to enjoy this kind of watery coffee during our years here… i find it inexplicably comforting. plus, jacobs roasts theirs in the south of neukölln, and if the wind is right, you can smell it from our house! for months, we thought someone in the kiez had a really powerful cafetiera… :D

zimt & mehl

i’ve wanted to write about this place around the corner for ages now… it’s a very normal café & bakery, the kind of place you have in practically every corner of berlin, filling the street with the smell of baked gluten at certain hours. the pastries are the opposite of fancy, the coffee is very meh… it isn’t hip or cool at all and for a reeeally long time, the background music was exactly the same. every. single. day.

and yet, we love it so much (and come back so often) they already know how we take our coffees without asking… it’s lovely!


there are 2 things rather special about zimt & mehl. first of all, it opens at 6am! in a city where a café that opens before 10am is hard to find, this is extraordinary. it allows us to come in early and do one of my favorite morning rituals: the early morning study sessions. we show up as early as 7am, get a coffee, sit down and just study something, while all around us, people read their newspapers and grab their coffees-to-go and sandwiches before heading off to work.

sometimes friends join us, and for one hour or so we go over online classes or educational podcasts, translate ted talks, study languages… anything goes, as long as it is learning or working towards a specific (not work-related) goal. right now i’m studying gut flora, paulo is doing a course on stocks and bonds and our friend max is learning korean. i’m an early morning kind of person, so i find it nice to jump out of bed and right into something.

second, they make omelets! big, fluffy omelets! you pick the ingredients, and they’ll make them for you. yes, they still come with bread (or this wouldn’t be germany), but if you skip that or push it towards the other end of the table, you’ll be fine for a no-frills, gluten-free meal. for people who are a bit picky about that, this is nothing short of a small breakfast revolution. plus, eggs are pretty much still my favorite thing – so this makes me happy.


and there you go: our favorite café in the whole of berlin! sometimes it’s the little things that count the most :)

adventures in fermentation

it all started with a podcast from the food program some months ago, in which they interviewed people who had read the art of fermentation and raved about how empowered they felt to give it a go, and how easy it was to ferment things… it was inspiring, so much so that i immediately dived into the book as well. after a few pages, i was already feeling the itch to roll up the sleeves and ferment something!

since we’re in germany, sauerkraut seemed like the obvious choice. i’ve sort of acquired a taste for it over the time we’ve been here, actually. i like to mix it with the salad for the hints of acidity that make it less boring, or just as a side for a dish of meat or the morning’s omelet.

before embarking on this endeavor, i researched fermentation vessels, and decided to go with my leftover fido jars from coconut oil. i never part with them when the coconut oil is over, just because they’re so handy, so i had plenty laying around. some people say fido jars weren’t really made for fermenting things and can explode (!) if they cannot release pressure, so just in case, i adjusted the tightness of the lid, making mine a little bit looser.


making sauerkraut is messy but unbelievably easy! all you need to do is to cut cabbage very thinly, add salt, and press it with your hands until the water comes out. then, pack it in the jar really tightly and add a weight on top to keep it submerged to avoid spoilage (i used a second, smaller jar). close it, and wait patiently without opening for 3-4 weeks. voilá! things will foam and overflow in the first few days, but after that the bacteria will quietly do their thing.


my first batch was plain — just a test to see if i could do it. when i opened the jar three weeks later, i could hardly believe how good it looked for something that sat on the window sill untouched for weeks… not even a bit of mould or slime in sight! oh, and the sauerkraut was crunchy and delicious! :D i immediately dived into batch #2, this time with cabbage + beets…


also a resounding success! i don’t usually like beets by themselves all that much, but this was really nice, with just a hint of earthy flavor and lots of crunchiness. and that color… magical!

i think i might be addicted to the process — there’s so much room for experimentation and it’s just so satisfying! for sure i’ll never buy another pack of dodgy supermarket sauerkraut ever again :D