22 Nov 2012

Restaurant Day quicky

Last Saturday was Restaurant Day in Helsinki!
The weather did not really cooperate, as usually happens in November, but rain has never been enough reason to stay home when there is good food out there.

My favorite of the day? Tokyo kitchen!


Reason number 1: There was a damn cute "owner" that made me smile.


Reason number 2: They loved my Totoro wallet.


Reason number 3: The salmon rice balls were delicious!!

Cannot wait for the next one in February... hopefully -20ºC are still not a good enough excuse to stay home :-)

17 Nov 2012

Great love stories not only happen in the movies

I usually don't write about romantic stuff, but I needed to share this one with you.
It is going to be my small tribute to love, I hope it inspires you as much as it inspired me.

For many years I believed that every little thing in life happens for a reason... after hearing the love story of my dear friend Daniela, I'm absolutely convinced that destiny exist.

However, I am not talking about the seat-and-wait-that-your-dreams-come-true kind of destiny... I believe about another form of fate, the one that gives you all the pieces from the puzzle, one by one, but you are the one that needs to figure out what to do with them.

(It is probably going to sound like a movie plot but I promise upfront that I'm not making it up)

Daniela is from Argentina.
Back in 2003 she worked in Buenos Aires airport, at the check-in desk.

from here
It was a hot summer morning and her shift was supposed to finish at 10:00 a.m. the temperature was already pretty high so she decided to stay at work (with air-conditioning) a bit longer, instead of waiting for her bus outside.

11 Nov 2012

Un cornetto per favore!

I have been craving for an Italian cornetto for months.
One of those I ate every morning at Cafè Matisse before going to work, accompained by a cup of oh so good cappuccino.

It is funny that the cornetti you get in the bar are actually different than the ones you find at the bakery. The cornetti da bar are more like a brioche, less buttery than the typical french style croissant.



On Friday I was sick and bored so I started a thorough brioche cornetti research.
I eventually found a nice and not so difficult recipe from Viva la Focaccia and I had to give it a try.
The results were quite good, not as delicious as Cafè Matisse but almost.
I hope it makes your morning!

Cornetti da bar

Makes 16 cornetti.

Ingredients 


PASTRY
  • 500 gr flour (I used refined pastry flour) 
  • 50 gr butter (room temperature)
  • 25 gr fresh yeast
  • 150 gr milk
  • 150 gr sugar
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla arome
  • 1/2 lemon zest (grated)
  • 2 Tbsp of powdered sugar for dusting

FILLING (optional)
  • 150 gr dark chocolate (or Nutella, marmalade, etc.) 

Making the dough


Warm up the 150 gr of milk a little bit (c.a. 30ºC), remove from the stove and add the yeast. Mix until it dissolves completely. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix 500gr of flour with the 150 gr of sugar. Add the lemon zest.

Cut the 50gr butter into small pieces and add it to the mixture.

Add 2 eggs and the milk, knead until it does not stick to your fingers.
You can either do it by hand or - if you are as lazy as I am - with the help of a stand mixer (I used my lovely KitchenAid with dough hook attachment at medium speed about 10 min.).


Rolling the dough


1. Separate the dough in two parts and make two balls out of it.

2. Put the balls in two airtight containers and let it set for 2 hours at about 30ºC (my home is around 20ºC so I placed the containers in the oven at minimum temperature).


Now comes the funny part, how to actually roll the dough into croissants:

3. Dust one of the balls in flour and roll it into a circle like you will be making pizza.


4. With the help of a sharp knife, cut it into 8 triangle shapes as shown in the picture below.



5. Add a piece of chocolate in the widest part of the triangle.

6. Brush the narrow part of the triangle with a bit of water.



7. Take the bottom of the triangle and tightly roll it up into a croissant shape.
Repeat steps 3 to 7 with the other ball of dough.



8. Let them set for 3 more hours at room temperature, leave enough space between the cornetti because they will double its size. You can skip this step if you are planing to freeze them*.



* in that case just put your beautiful cornetti straight to the freezer. Whenever you feel like eating them, take the frozen cornetti out from the freezer the night before and let them defrost overnight at room temperature.  


Baking


Set the oven to 180ºC.

Whisk 1 egg yolk with a bit of milk.
Place the cornetti onto the baking tray and brush them all over with the egg mix.

Bake for about 15 min. (or until they are golden brown)
Let them cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.



Eating


I had to wait 5 months but I finally was able to enjoy a perfect Italian breakfast in Finland.


4 Nov 2012

The most awesome souvenir guide to Barcelona

You already know where to shop, what to visit and where to eat in Barcelona.
But many of you keep on asking what's the best stuff to bring home from your trip. Hence, I decided to collect few ideas for souvenirs and where to find them.
Welcome to The Most Awesome Souvenir Guide to Barcelona!
Here starts my personal battle against Mexican hats, bulls, flamenco outfits and 'BarcelonaBarcelona' bags... which represents Barcelona as well as the Eiffel Tower represents Rome. 

So, before you continue reading, put the right hand over your heart and promise that you are going to resist the temptation of buying a flamenco outfit. Done? Good.
Now you are entitled to check out what kind of stuff is going to save you from the post-vacation depression... as well as remind you of (hopefully) one of the nicest cities you have ever been.

Cool postcards 

One of the few places where you can find decent postcards is WaWas Barcelona (C/ Carders 14).
You can either send it to your family/friends or just frame it up once you get home and hang it on your wall.

They got a really nice collection of images from Barcelona's everyday life.
An original alternative to the traditional postcards, created by two sisters that wanted to share with the world the real Barcelona, the city where they grew up, the place they love.

from here

They also sell mugs with panoramic views of the city, as well as two eatable version of the basic postcards: delicious chocolate wrapped with the coolest WaWas images and the "Chocopost", a combination of Chocolate + DIY postcard.

from here

I must say that WaWas is one of my favorite souvenir stores in the city.
Asides from cool postcards, they also sell many other "made in Barcelona" beautiful stuff, like Chispum vinyl stickers (see bellow). 

Vinyl stickers

from Chispum

Decorative vinyls made in Barcelona by a bunch of extremely talented illustrators.
Their motto says it all: 'Every space has a story and, if not, you should create it'

from here

You can find them in WaWas Barcelona (C/ Carders 14).

In the unfortunate case that you are not planing to go to Barcelona any time soon (or you where so busy eating tapas that you did not have time to go shopping), you can visit their on-line store
Which by the way has the cutest shopping cart icon I have ever seen in my whole life:

 

Chocolate

From the Chocolat Factory
Super clever packaging combined with oh so delicious chocolate.
from here
There are several stores in the city, for instance the one in Amigó 53 is really nice.
They also have one at the Barcelona airport (Terminal 1), which might come in handy for a last-minute souvenir.

Camper shoes

Camper is a very well known Barcelona shoe brand, famous for their unique style which perfectly combines creativity with functionality.
Camper shoes are pretty, super comfy and will make your feet happy for many many hours.

I got this fabulous pair from my last visit to Barcelona this summer: 



Good food 

There is no better souvenir than a good bottle of cava (Catalan sparkling wine), a piece of cheese or an authentic llonganissa (cured sausage).

from here

A good place to find the best products is Vila Viniteca (C/ Agullers nº 9).

The smell of good food 

In the case Ryanair does not allow you to bring real food, here you have a nice and rather small alternative: the smell of good food.

If someone will ask me what kind of smell reminds me home,  I would probably say a mix of olives, pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato) and tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette).

La típica Candela came up with the great idea of making candles out of those aromas.
So, no matter where do you live, your house will smell like a typical Catalan kitchen!

from here
You can buy them from Vinçon in Passeig de Gràcia, 96.