Vanilice

Vanilice |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Vanilice |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

I very often dream with my grandmother. I can clearly remember her white hair, scent of a cream she would put on her skin every morning, her voice and her home. But one of the things that I remember lately is her pantry and jar of vanilla cookies she always had ready for visitors.
I know I would open the pantry door every time I visited her seeking for cookies and they would be there, waiting in the jar. It’s vanilla scent and a touch of lemon , they just melt in the mouth.

Yesterday was a holiday in Portugal, and for some reason I walked up very early. I made coffee for me and turn oven on. I decided to bake these cookies. At a time kids walked up, cookies were almost done. I hope my kids keep memories of this as I remember my grandmother’s cookie jar.

Vanilice

Recipe from my grandmother’s recipe notebook

500g wheat flour
250g butter
4 tbs of sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
juice of one lemon
powdered sugar with vanilla scent (I keep always powdered sugar in a pot together with vanilla pods so it gets a strong vanilla scent)
berry jam (originally it’s used rose hip jam )

Preheat the oven to 200ºC
Mix the butter and sugar. Add egg and egg yolk, mix well. Add lemon juice, mix and add flour.

Work the dough until it gets together. Roll it out on a lightly floured board (to be 1.5 cm thick).
Take out circles with a cookie cutter, place them on a baking sheet and put in the oven (get them out when they become white).

When cookies get cold join two of them with some jam and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Berry Tart

Berry Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Berry Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Berry Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

Last weeks were super busy. The days were mainly filled with fun stuff. My nephew came for a visit and we spent a great time together getting lost in Lisbon, visiting my favourite spots, drinking a lot of coffee and eating. Besides eating outside, I also cooked on the little free time left and baked a tart with some berries, leftovers from the summer. It’s his favourite tart.
Today, my body just rejected to cooperate and I had to stay in bed with blankets on top and tea on my side but I am so happy for all the fun we had together.

*****

As últimas semanas foram super ocupadas. Os dias foram principalmente preenchidos com coisas divertidas. O meu sobrinho veio visitar-nos e passamos bons momentos juntos, perdidos em Lisboa, a visitar os meus lugares favoritos, a beber muito café e a comer. Além de comer fora, também cozinhei no pouco tempo livre que restou e fiz uma tarte com alguns frutos silvestres, sobras do verão. É a sua tarte favorita.
Hoje o meu corpo simplesmente decidiu não cooperar e eu tive de ficar na cama com cobertores por cima e chá ao meu lado, mas estou muito feliz por toda a diversão que tivemos juntos.

Berry Tart

Spelt Dough
300g spelt flour (or wheat flour)
2tbs coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
1ts salt
175g soy margarine (or butter), chilled and cut into cubes
3-4tbs cold water

Berry Filling
120g coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
3tbs spelt flour (or wheat flour)
1ts ground cinnamon
1/2ts ground cardamom
1/2ts ground ginger
1/4ts salt
500g frozen berries
juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Mix the flour, sugar, margarine and salt until you get fine crumbs.Slowly add water until you get a fine dough. Wrap with plastic foil and leave for min 30min in the fridge.
Mix berries with lemon juice. In a separate bowl mix flour, sugar, spices and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to the fruit.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll with a rolling pin until 3mm thick.
Line the tart with the dough but do not trim the edges yet.
Stir berry mixture into the tart shell. Trim the excess dough. Roll the excess dough with a rolling pin until 3mm thick and cut the dough into even strips (1cm). Make lattice from stripes. Brush with egg and sprinkle with some extra sugar.
Bake in the hot oven for 45 min. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Lisbon Stories :: A Luz Ideal

A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic

I discovered A Luz Ideal while passing by with a car. I remembered I looked through the window and noticed this beautiful small coffee bar on the corner and thought I need to come to visit.
Since I went there first time, I kept going and it turned into one of my favourite places .. one of those spots you come in and you are welcomed with a big smile.

Everything begun while Teresa, owner who lives in the neighbourhood, was sitting on the bus station across where A Luz Ideal is now and realized a shop that was there at the time was closed. Idea came in and she tried to find out who is the owner of place.
Together with Pedro, her husband who is architect, and few more friends, she made project, presented it to the owner of place and they were accepted…
When they found out it’s approved they panicked. No experience in a field, with new project in hands they didn’t know where to start .

But story has a happened, they opened a beautiful space which is visited by people from neighbourhood and also by tourists and those, like me, who go there on purpose. Food and pastries made by Teresa, good coffee and great light and atmosphere , I can’t ask for more ..

A Luz Ideal
Rua General Schiappa Monteiro 2A, Lisbon
Mon-Fri 09.30 — 20.00
Saturday 09.30 — 14.30
Sunday Closed

Spelt Fruit Tart

Spelt Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Spelt Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Spelt Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Spelt Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Spelt Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

I have to say I am not surprised which doesn’t mean this doesn’t make me sad.
I come from country that suffered war and where hate is still very present and makes part of daily life.
I used to be surrounded by people who couldn’t see further then their feet … they couldn’t understand, even if you tried to explain.
There is us and them and there is no actual wall between but there is a virtual one, one that you can’t touch but you can feel it exist. And it is like that for more then two decades and I am slowly loosing hope.. so I am not surprised for President chosen yesterday, my country is ruled by similar ones for a long time .. but it does make me sad.

I know world may stop for second, but very fast it continue spinning and I continue baking this beautiful tarts which I served to my family, trying to not loose hope in humanity.

Spelt Fruit Tart

Spelt Dough
300g spelt flour (or wheat flour)
2tbs coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
1ts salt
175g soy margarine (or butter), chilled and cut into cubes
3-4tbs cold water

Filling
90g coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
3tbs spelt flour (or wheat flour)
1ts cinnamon, grounded
1ts ginger, grounded
1/2ts cardamom, grounded
1/4ts salt
1kg fruits (I used apples and plums)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Mix the flour, sugar, margarine and salt until you get fine crumbs. Slowly add water until you get a fine dough. Wrap with plastic foil and leave for min 30min in the fridge.
In a separate bowl mix flour, sugar, spices and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the fruits.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll with a rolling pin until 3mm thick.Cut circles with pastry cutters, size to fit into small forms.
Line the tarts with the dough but do not trim the edges yet.
Stir fruit mixture into the tarts shells. Trim the excess dough. Roll the excess dough with a rolling pin until 3mm thick and cut the dough into even strips (1cm). Make lattice from stripes. Brush with egg.
Bake in the hot oven for 45 min. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Pumpkin and Raw Chocolate Cake

Pumpkin and Raw Chocolate Cake|Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

I have pumpkins on my mind. Not so sure if it’s because supermarkets are full of all kind of pumpkins, or if because of autumn colours that remind me on them or because I am in the mood for eating all kinds of food with pumpkin ..pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin galette …
Maybe it’s because ‘Dia das Bruxas’ is almost here and kids are planing how to celebrate it … Anyway, I have this recipe on my to do list for some time, and it had to be.
Cake is very moist, and spicy, and all you need for an autumn day!!!

Pumpkin Cake|Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

Pumpkin and Raw Chocolate Cake

(adapted from Gjelina by Travis Lett)

Cake:
420g piece kabocha squash seeded
250ml olive oil
180g spelt flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1½ tbsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp salt
250g sugar
3 eggs
100g raw chocolate nibs

Glaze:
75g icing sugar
1 tbs hot water
1 tbs olive oil
dry rose petals for decoration

Preheat oven to 220C. Place squash on baking sheet (cut side down), drizzle with olive oil, and bake until soft and starting to caramelise, around 30 minutes. Let cool a bit, scoop out flesh and puree in food processor until smooth. Wrap squash in cheesecloth and let strain in a colander a few hours or overnight. Measure out 225g, keep leftovers in a fridge.

Preheat oven to 165C. Butter baking pans.

Mix all dry ingredients except sugar in a large bowl. In a medium bowl whisk sugar, olive oil, squash puree and eggs. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in squash mixture and whisk until just combined. Stir in chocolate nibs.

Pour batter into pans and bake until browned on the top and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 75 to 90 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and invert cake from the pan. Let cool on the rack another 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk icing sugar with hot water until you have a glaze the texture of honey. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly. Add more or less sugar and water as needed to achieve consistency.

Pour the glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip over the edges. Sprinkle rose petals over the cake and let set before serving.

Autumn at LUDC Shop

Autumn at LUDC Shop | Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Autumn at LUDC Shop | Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Autumn at LUDC Shop | Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Autumn at LUDC Shop | Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Autumn at LUDC Shop | Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Autumn at LUDC Shop | Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Autumn at LUDC Shop | Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

Autumn is here, not just as a date on the calendar but also in the air. Despite the short sleeves are still hanging in my wardrobe, the evenings and mornings are cold and air is crisp.
The best place to realize that the autumn is here are the markets, full of new seasonal ingredients that all my body is craving about.
The other day I decided to play a bit with LUDC Shop ceramics and put it in Autumn mood. They are timeless and fit in for every season and I hope you like the result.

Note: All the props are available at LUDC Shop (made by Otchipotchi, MF Ceramics and Anna Westerlund Ceramics)

*****

O outono chegou, não apenas no calendário mas também no ar. Apesar das mangas curtas ainda estarem penduradas no meu guarda-roupa, as noites e manhãs estão frias e o ar fresco.
O melhor sítio para perceber que o outono está aqui são os mercados, cheio de novos ingredientes da estação pelos quais todo o meu corpo deseja.
No outro dia decidi jogar um pouco com a cerâmica da LUDC Shop e colocá-la no mood de outono. Eles são intemporais e encaixam-se em cada estação e espero que gostem do resultado.

Nota: Todos os props estão disponíveis na LUDC Shop (made by Otchipotchi, MF Ceramics e Anna Westerlund Ceramics)

Lisbon Stories :: Hello, Kristof

Hello, Kristof
Hello, Kristof| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic Hello, Kristof| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
Hello, Kristof| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
Hello, Kristof| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic Hello, Kristof| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
Hello, Kristof| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
Hello, Kristof Hello, Kristof| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
Hello, Kristof| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic

Today I will start a new column on the blog, Lisbon Stories.

I live in Lisbon for the last 15 years and I am totally passionate about this city.
I get so excited finding new places, new hidden gems, wandering around through its narrow streets…

The purpose of Lisbon Stories is to share some of my favourite places and their stories with you.
And… what better than to start with a brand new coffee place, Hello, Kristof ?

Ricardo, the owner of Hello, Kristof is/was a freelance graphic designer, who worked from home for some years. Being very communicative, the loneliness of freelance home work kicked out and he needed a change.

On a travel to NYC last year, he got inspired with all those lovely small coffee shops around there and he decided to do something new.
Back in Lisbon, he started searching for the perfect spot, and one day, while wandering through Poço dos Negros, he found it.

The place was not in a good shape, and a lot of construction work was needed.
Although the big Nordic influence, he also wanted to keep the original structure of place, so Hello, Kristof was born, in a mix of Nordic interior design and Portuguese architecture.

Hello, Kristof serves light lunches, juices, great cakes and very good coffee.

Hello, Kristof
Rua do Poço dos Negros, 103 , Lisboa
Monday-Friday 9h-18h

*****

Hoje vou começar uma nova coluna no blog, Lisbon Stories.

Vivo em Lisboa há 15 anos e estou completamente apaixonado por esta cidade.
Fico tão animada em encontrar novos lugares, novas pérolas escondidas, vagueando pelas suas ruas estreitas…

O objectivo de Lisbon Stories é partilhar alguns dos meus lugares favoritos e as suas histórias convosco.
E… que melhor forma de começar do que com um novo café acabado de abrir, Hello, Kristof ?

Ricardo, o proprietário de Hello, Kristof é/era um designer gráfico freelancer, que trabalhava a partir de casa durante alguns anos. Por ser muito comunicativo, a solidão de trabalhar em casa apareceu abruptamente e ele sentiu a necessidade de uma mudança.

Numa viagem a NYC no ano passado, ele inspirou-se com todas aquelas pequenas lojas encantadoras de café por lá e decidiu fazer algo novo.
De regresso a Lisboa, começou a procurar o local perfeito e, um dia, enquanto vagueava pelo Poço dos Negros, encontrou-o.

O lugar não estava em bom estado, e foi preciso muito trabalho de construção.
Apesar da grande influência nórdica, ele também queria manter a estrutura original do lugar, por isso Hello, Kristof nasceu, numa mistura de design de interiores nórdica e arquitetura portuguesa.

Hello, Kristof serve almoços leves, sumos, bolos fantásticos e muito bom café.

Hello, Kristof
Rua do Poço dos Negros, 103 , Lisboa
Segunda a Sexta 9h-18h

Olive Oil Plum Cake

Olive Oil Plum Cake| Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Olive Oil Plum Cake| Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Olive Oil Plum Cake| Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Olive Oil Plum Cake| Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Olive Oil Plum Cake| Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Olive Oil Plum Cake| Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Olive Oil Plum Cake| Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

School is slowly starting (who has kids in a Portuguese public school knows what I mean with ‘slowly’).
Last two weeks were mostly dedicated to it , spending a lot of time buying all school material … but besides that not so pleasant part, we are trying to get most of these last sun rays before autumn and all the duties kick out.

Days are still so sunny and we spend a lot of time in the park and weekends on the beach.
Almost every evening , we go for a walk after dinner, sharing all the plans for autumn, go for skating, eat ice-cream …
I am dreaming of grey days and rain but in the same time I can’t get enough of this late summer sun days.

Yesterday I went to supermarket to get my weekly supply , with a precious help of my daughter Hana and fruit section was proof that autumn is near. Plums, grapes, pomegranate … we wanted them all.
This morning I decided to do simple olive oil plum cake, mixed with spices I love. In the same time I roasted some plums to eat with yogurts in the morning and cake with those roasted plums were absolutely amazing. In case you have some plums at home, this recipe is so simple to make but taste so good.

Olive Oil Plum Cake

200g sugar
120ml olive oil
2 eggs
30ml orange juice
190g wheat or spelt flour
1/2 tbs baking powder
1/2 ts salt
2 ts ground cinnamon
1 ts ground cardamom
500g plums, pitted and cut in four

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a 21cm cake tin.
Beat together olive oil and sugar. Slowly mix in eggs.
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.
Add dry ingredients and orange juice. Mix until well-incorporated.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, level the top with the back of a spoon or palette knife. Place the plums on top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 min.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

* this cake is great with all kind of seasonal fruits

Azenhas do Mar

Azenhas do Mar | Photography Sanda Pagaimo
Azenhas do Mar | Photography Sanda Pagaimo
Azenhas do Mar | Photography Sanda Pagaimo
Azenhas do Mar | Photography Sanda Pagaimo
Azenhas do Mar | Photography Sanda Pagaimo Azenhas do Mar | Photography Sanda Pagaimo
Azenhas do Mar | Photography Sanda Pagaimo
Azenhas do Mar | Photography Sanda Pagaimo

Sintra region is one of my favourite escapes.
No matter if it’s to go wonder through historical town or get lost in the forest or visit the beach seeking for salty air and sand ..

Few weeks ago I went to Sintra for work and after I finished I decided not to go running back home but to drive to Azenhas de Mar beach and have lunch there. You know these decisions that you make and you are so happy about them … this one was one of those.
While Lisbon was covered with sun rays, Sintra was totally lost in fog. I arrived to Azenhas de Mar and walked to the beach, and was surprised about finding people there. My first thought was , those are tourist who doesn’t want to loose any beach day of their vacations but then I noticed locals also.

Beach was totally covered with fog, but colours … mind blowing. I never saw something like it.

Spelt Brownies with Raspberries

Spelt Brownies with Raspberries | Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

You may find this really strange, I won’t judge you since I find it strange also.
It’s middle of August, hottest month in Lisbon and I can’t stop baking.
I bake every day … bread, pizza, cakes, cookies, granola … I get surreal ideas, and then I want to test them, I go to bed in the evening thinking about what would I bake next day.
I think it’s totally crazy. I mean, I wouldn’t find it strange if it’s autumn or colder days but … while others are enjoying beach, I bake ..
Did my inner thermometer got wrong? Where did this sudden urge for baking come from? Did you experience something like this?
With 35C outside I stand next to the oven with 180C … absolutely out of mind but I feel like possessed, with sudden rush of ideas for cakes, and crumbles and breads ..
This brownies, were one of results of this craziness and I have to tell you, they are so worth me sweating next to the oven (ahahahah).

Spelt Brownies with Raspberries | Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Spelt Brownies with Raspberries | Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

Spelt Brownies with Raspberries

200g dark chocolate (70%), chopped
40g coconut oil, plus extra for baking pan
60ml coconut milk
3 large eggs at room temperature, separated
80g coconut sugar
pinch of sea salt
35g spelt flour, plus extra for baking pan
1/2 ts ground cardamom
125g raspberries

Preheat your oven to 150°C.
Place the chocolate, coconut oil, coconut milk in a bowl and melt it in a bain-marie. Create a bain-marie by placing a metal or glass bowl over a pot of boiling water, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
In the bowl of a stand mix, beat the egg yolks and sugar with salt until light and pale and doubled in volume. Gently fold in melted chocolate mixture. Sprinkle the spelt flour and cardamom over the batter and fold gently to combine.
Beat egg whites, till stiff and slowly add to chocolate mixture, without over mixing.

Butter 3x12cm round cake forms and sprinkle with spelt flour.

Pour cake batter into prepared pans and top with raspberries. Bake around 35-40min. A tester inserted into the center of the cake should come out dry.
Let cool then invert onto the rack.

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