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Kiwi, strawberry, banana and almond milk smoothie bowl is a smooth way to refill your vitamins level and start the day fresh. With an extra topping of almond and maple sugar flakes. A Lactose-free smoothie.Kiwi, strawberry, banana and almond milk smoothie bowl is a smooth way to refill your vitamins level and start the day fresh. A Lactose-free smoothie.

smoothie bowl

I confess… I received a smoothie machine for christmas, and this is my first smoothie bowl ever. Nor did I do many simple smoothies either… So being An unctuous fruity smoothie bowl to start the day?fairly new at it, I did an “obvious” choice of fruits, a always favorite of mine; sharp kiwi with juicy strawberry and to calm things down a banana! I often see those beautiful bowls online and want to plunge right in, well this time, I finally did my own and did plunge head first in it after the photo session. Simple but divine! There is a whole lot to explore in the smoothie world… 2017 will be my smoothie year, you’ll see lots more of them on my blog. A great way and healthy way to start the day and/or the year!

Smooth smoothie…

The deal with smoothies is they can get boring… too smooth. You need to made it more inviting or exciting… that’s why I believe those “smoothie bowls” got popular this year. It’s always great to find a contrasting texture to a monotone recipe. To make the smoothie the bed of a bunch of beautiful toppings is key! Incorporating the fruity bites and almonds and maple sugar flakes it help to upgrade it to a fantastic smoothie instead of a boring one. Because we also eat with our eyes!

I’ve used fresh fruits for this recipe, Kiwi, strawberry and banana with almond milk smoothie bowlalthough frozen fruits would work too. Omit the ice cubes if the frozen fruits are used and give the blender session an extra minute to make sure no frozen bites are left. The almond milk and all the fruits have enough of sweetness to it, so I didn’t needed extra sugar (honey or else).

So let’s blend some fruits!

 


Kiwi, strawberry, banana with almond milk smoothie bowl

Makes 2 small portions or 1 big bowl

IngrKiwi, strawberry and banana with almond milk smoothie bowledients
  • 10 strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 kiwi (fresh or frozen)
  • 80ml of almond milk
  • 4 ice cubes (only with fresh fruits)
Toppings
  • 10 strawberries (fresh)
  • 1/2 kiwi (fresh)
  • maple sugar flakes
  • almond finely sliced
Directions
  1. Add all the ingredient to the blender
  2. Blend a good 2 minutes, until smooth
  3. Served in a small bowl and top with the extra toppings

 

Enjoy!

Kiwi, strawberry and banana with almond milk smoothie bowl

Panellets de pinon y cocoPanellets, little breads in Catalan, are little confections made for the All Saints day  (1st of november) and the day of the dead (2nd of november). They are traditional sweets made in Catalonia region, Spain, with an almond paste (marzipan) and a topping of your choice; it could be pine nuts, coconut, almond, coffee, etc. The pine nut one is by far the most popular, although the base stays the same; an almond paste. You can make them with or without potato, they say the best ones are made without, although to make the pine nuts stick to the balls, I believe the potato version is better. Another important point is to make the almond paste rest in the fridge for a day before forming the panellets. This way the oil from the almond flour make the paste bind perfectly together.panelletspin

 

Panellets de pinon y coco

This recipe makes nice little treats for christmas also, and the kiddos can help out making them, in different shapes. The coconut one in Catalonia is usually of pyramidal shape and the pine nuts panellets are usually round, the almond one is cylindrical but ultimately its shape is up to you. Although they are use for Catholic religious days those panellets were most probably brought in Spain by the Arabs, back in the 18e century, which use almonds paste and nuts regularly in there confections. So those have quite a long history behind them.

So let’s make those little treats!

 


Panellets de pine nuts and coconut

Makes about 30 panellets

Ingredients
  • 150g of almond flour
  • 150g of sugar
  • 100g of sweet potato
  • 2 egg whites
  • organic lemon zest (organic since lemon zest even when washed is filled with insecticide)
  • 200g of pine nuts
  • 200g of coconut shredded
  • 200g of almond bits *optional
Directions
  1. Panellets de pinon y cocoAdd the almond flour, sugar and zest of a lemon to a bowl and mix well
  2. Add about 2 tbsp of water to the mix and work it until homogeneous paste
  3. Cover with a plastic film and let set in the fridge overnight
  4. Next day, make small 2 cm balls (or other shapes) with the paste, add to the egg white then in the pine nuts (or coconut, almond) and cover the ball good
  5. Add to a baking sheet, on a baking tray
  6. When they are all done, add a tiny bit of sugar to the egg white and mix, brush the panellets with the egg white left
  7. Cook in the oven at 200°C (400F) for about 10 minutes (or less, until the balls are golden)
  8. Let them cool and get firm before serving

Enjoy!

Panellets de pinon y coco

Monkfish in saffron-sherry-almond sauce

Monkfish in saffron-sherry sauce and dried tomatoes is a dish inspired by a southern Spanish dish called Cazón en amarillo. Cazón is a small shark (school shark), a traditional dish from Andalusia, but since those are becoming hard to come by, I’ve exchange it for monkfish or as they call it in Spain “chicken of the sea”. The recipe is usually served with fried potato in a stew style terra cotta pot. My personal touch is the dried tomatoes, which give that dish some extra color and also a welcomed salty touch that contrast good the wheaty saffron flavor.saffronmonkpin

Monkfish in saffron-sherry-almond sauceThe base of the sauce is the most important part here, it’s a “tipico Spanish” base sauce, which is called sofrito. It consist mainly of softening a finely chopped onion, garlic in olive oil and reduce the juice of a grated tomato to a paste, then you add whatever liquid to it like; wine, broth, water,etc. this right there is the base of many of Spain’s best dishes. It takes some patience to wait for the liquid to evaporate, but it’s so rewarding. Especially, those days, where under 30 minutes recipes are considered the ultimate recipes… I believe to take your time will always give a more adequate result. No offense, I do understand the need for those under 30 minutes meals, with those job-family balancing lifestyles but once in a while to take the time to make a great sauce, or dish is worth the effort.

Saffron is a great spice, it colors your meal into this rich golden color and taste fantastic like no other spices. It can be quite a powerful spice and needs to be used in small amounts, cause it can become overwhelming, most recipe you’ll see with it contains no more than 1 pinch or max 2. A good saffron looks not dry, is vivid red and usually come in really small packs, some have yellow stigmas in them, which result in a slightly lower quality. No need to say, it’s terribly expensive to buy this spice, it’s the priciest of them all but to understand why it’s so costly check this video from Discovery.

Monkfish in saffron-sherry-almond sauce
This version is with asparagus instead of clams

One cooking tip about saffron would be to never boil it, if you add it to a meal, try not to boil it, simmering is fine but it will loose a lot of it’s flavor if you cook it too heavily. I, usually, let it 15 minutes into a warm bowl of water to release it’s flavor and color and add it toward the end of coccion. Also, keep your saffron in a dark, cool place if you want to preserve it longer.

So let’s make those Andalusian flavors going!


Monkfish in a Saffron-Almond sauce and dried tomatoes

Makes 2 portions

Ingredients
  • 400g of Monkfish pieces
  • 100ml of warm water
  • 50ml of Sherry or white wine
  • 1 onion cut into fine dices
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tomato cut into 2
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 40g of almond powder (blend some skinless almond)
  • few clams 
  • 50ml of the clam juice leftover or fish stock
  • olive oil
  • dried tomatoes cut finely
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Start by making the sofrito, add the finely chopped onion to a pan on medium-low heat and let the onion soften, become slightly colored into the olive oil (takes about 20-25 minutes)
  2. Add the pinch of saffron into the warm water and reserve
  3. When the onions are soften, add the garlic and cook an extra minute
  4. With a cheese grater, grate the inside of each half of tomato until the skin, add the juice directly into the onion
  5. Let the tomato water evaporate completely, about 5-10 minutes
  6. Deglaze by adding the sherry or wine
  7. Add the laurel leaf and the water that contains the saffron, let simmer for a 5 minutes
  8. In a separate pot, cook the clams into a bit of water or wine, olive oil and thyme *extra and cover to let them open up
  9. When the clams are open, reserve them and add 50 ml of the clam juice to the simmering saffron sauce.
  10. In a mortar or blender make powder out of skinless almonds (this will thickens the sauce) and add to the saffron sauce about 30g and reserve the rest
  11. Take the laurel leaf out
  12. Blend the saffron sauce
  13. Pass through a sieve to make it smooth (push with a spoon down to get every last drops of juice)
  14. Reserve the saffron sauce
  15. Add salt and pepper to the pieces of Monkfish
  16. In a hot pan, add olive oil
  17. Cook in the pan medium-high heat the monkfish, depending how thick the pieces are, about 5 to 10 minutes until cooked through (if thick pieces, you can add a little clam juice, helps the fish to cook through)
  18. Serve with rice, clams, the finely chopped dried tomatoes and a touch of the almond powder.

Enjoy!

Monkfish in saffron-sherry-almond sauce (6).jpg

 

ajo blanco pina
ajo blanco pina

This is a summer recipe. It is actually based on the original gazpacho recipe, the “ajo blanco” which is an almond, garlic, bread and vinegar cold soup. The tradition one doesn’t contain pineapple but sometimes grapes are used.

ajo blanco pina

Gazpacho existed way before tomatoes were imported in Europe from the New World. Spaniards used to do “cold soup” gazpacho with simply almond and vinegar. Since the south of Spain is an almond paradise, when those trees bloom, it’s absolutely beautiful. The Arabs imported them and later cultivated them in Spain. They are obviously quite a few nice recipes with them in Spain. Often they use almond to make a “picada” at the end of cooking, it thickens the sauce and gives it an extra nutty flavour. For example, the “Rabbit with wine & chocolate sauce” contains some in the last stage of the recipe.

This soup is great because you make it in advance, obviously… since it needs to be cold… and when I say cold you can even put it in the freezer or ice 20 minutes before serving to make it extra cold.


Almond & pineapple gazpacho

Ingredients

4 portions

  • 200g pineapple
  • 100g of bread without the crust, soak it in water
  • 300g almond uncooked and without skin
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 30ml apple or white balsamic vinegar
  • 800 ml of water
  • salt and white pepper
Directions
  1. Soak the almonds in water overnight
  2. Soak the bread a few minutes
  3. Add everything in a mixer and blend really well
  4. In a sieve, push out all the water from the mix, squeeze with hand to get all that juice out.
  5. Set in the fridge a few hours (needs to be really cold)
  6. Shake before serving
  7. Serve with a little extra-virgin olive oil on top.

 

Enjoy!