Nothing is so beautiful as Spring…

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I can’t believe I’m writing this wearing skirt, T-shirt and flip-flops, at one point it felt like this day would never come. The winter this year was so long, that R.R Martin books about endless winters and dreadful White Walkers suddenly weren’t that far from reality. I felt a bit like one of those frozen zombies myself, shuffling my feet every morning towards the windows to open the curtains and greet yet another grey, drizzly, miserable day. It was cold in the house, outside the house, around the house… my clothes were cold when I put them on, and cold when I took them off, and even the brighter coloured ones had taken on a grey, sad pallor.

Spring and Summer felt like one of those white lies parents tell children to keep them happy, like, you know, the guy that comes and delivers presents on December (we shall not name him in case a child reads this). Time takes a different dimension during winter, it folds on itself and slowly unfolds, in such a way, that a month of winter feels like an eternity of gloom, and last winter started pretty early, almost mid-Summer, and only left yesterday: 19th on April. That is a VERY LONG winter.

But, enough about the cold, and WELCOME SPRING! please stay with us for a long time, or at least till Summer, let’s have flowers, warmth, bees, sun, birds, butterflies, barbecues and picnics in the park.

This beautiful day deserves poetry, and this short poem by Billy Collins embodies exactly how I feel this morning, all windows in the house open, the doors that lead to the garden opened too, I am sitting in my kitchen, overlooking the garden that is exploding with colours, the orange of geums, the purple of lavander, pinks and lilacs from my sweet peas, the scent of herbs and the warmth of the sun… life is beautiful.

Today

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze
that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house
and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies
seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking
a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,
releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage
so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting
into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.
Billy Collins.
Wherever you are, I wish you a happy day, and if you are entering Autumn, remember, Spring will come again 🙂
Namaste,
Paula

 

 

 

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Argentinean sweet fried cakes

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Still fighting the Sunday blues on a Tuesday? Try this Argentine remedy for rainy days and Sundays that seem to go on forever…

“Tortafritas” are the Argentinean treat of choice for rainy days. They go great with mate and their warm sweetness keeps the blues away.

During a rainy weekend someone in my family was always bound to go…. “Shall we make tortafritas?” Because you make them, you don’t buy them (thankfully they are easy to make). If you are lucky, like I was, your Grandma will make them for you.

They are sweet, completely soft on the inside, and with crunchy sugar on the outside; eat them as soon as you finish making them, so they are warm and sweet, and you’ll never EVER forget this recipe.

They are super easy to make and they cook fast, their only two drawbacks ( I may as well mention them) are that a) you will never call them “healthy” or “low-cal”, so just don’t make 100 and b) they are fried and in a city as humid as London, the smell of frying tends to linger. As long as you are aware and you don’t care, go ahead, they are really worth it 🙂

Ingredients ( makes 8 big ones, like the ones in the photo or 16 smaller ones):

125 g plain flour

125 g raising flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 and a half spoonfuls of melted lard.

150 ml tepid water

1 cup of sugar (to coat/sprinkle on top. Beware: not icing sugar!)

Oil, to cook them in.

How to:

1.- In a bowl place the two types of flour and the salt and mix together. Make a well in the middle.

2.-  Add the water and melted lard to the well and mix with your hands. You will have a sticky dough at first, but knead it a bit and it will soon stop sticking to the bowl.

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3.- Once you have a dough that is not too sticky, form a roll and divide it into 8 portions. Then shape each of the portions into a ball. They will be the size of a golf ball. The tortafritas will plump and spread a bit during cooking, so if you’d rather have tortafritas the size of cookies, make two balls out of each portion of dough.

Let the little dough balls rest for 20 minutes covered with a clean tea towel or cling film.

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4.- Place a pan in the fire with oil, while it heats up, let’s finish shaping the tortafritas. Take one ball at a time, and flatten it with a rolling-pin till they are 2-3 mm thick, then, using a knife, make two incisions in each piece.

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5.-  To test the oil, place a small bit of dough in it, if it starts bubbling and sizzling away, then the oil is ready to be used, otherwise you’ll need to wait for a few minutes or bring the heat up. Once the oil is ready, place one or two tortafritas at a time. Cook on one side and then turn to even the colour.

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6.- As you take the tortafritas out of the oil, place them for a few seconds on some kitchen roll to absorb excess of oil and then place them in the sugar on both sides till they are covered in it.

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To add some different flavours to the mix:

Add cinnamon to the sugar and get cinnamon tortafritas

Add orange zest to the sugar and get citrucy flavoured tortafritas

Add some vanilla essence to the mix to get vanilla tortafritas.

Eat warm and be happy!!

Namaste and Bon Appétit!

Paula