Sharing Experience - Sallsa

I was invited by a colleague from law school to give a few tips about London for her website, it is in Portuguese but the tips are good ;) I really enjoyed writing this and some of the tips are a good day out even for Londoners.


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Lovely Experience – Finger Food

Well, this is a post I wish I had actually taken photos of the food, but I didn’t. My idea of preparing finger foods was because we were having a few friends over and there was not enough space for everyone to sit down at the table and have a proper meal. So, I did a little research on the web on how many finger foods needed for each person, ideas of recipes and how to serve. Here is how it went…

We were having around 9 people over and I needed around 15 finger food per person. I arranged the menu this way:

Nachos and Dips
Bloody Mary Tomatoes (recipe here)
Mini Stuffed Mushrooms (a collection of recipes)
Mini Jacket Potatoes on Salt Crust
Spicy Chicken Kebabs (recipe here)
Brigadeiro de Colher with Digestive Biscuit Crumble (good mix between Brazil and England)

I prepared the Bloody Mary Tomatoes one day in advance, as described in the recipe. All the other I started preparing on the same day, which was crazy and left me with no time to take picture.

For the Mini Stuffed Mushrooms:

1 pack of white button mushrooms (washed and peeled)
Bread crumbs (2 slices of whole meal bread should do)
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
A tablespoon of butter
Half an onion (finely chopped)

Preheat the oven to 250°C.

Initially, you have to take the stems off the mushrooms so you have space for the stuffing. The easiest way is to cut with a sharp knife around the stem, without cutting all the way into the cap. Chop the stems finely.

Place the mushrooms caps, stemmed sides down in a lightly oiled baking pan and bake until the mushrooms exude liquid. This takes approximately 10 minutes. After this, remove the mushrooms from the oven and set them aside.

I don’t have a food processor, which would possibly make the chore of crumbing the bread a lot easier. So, I toasted the two slices of bread and crumbed them by hand in a bowl. Mix the crumbs with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the mix in a shallow baking pan and bake until golden. 5-8 minutes should do. Then, transfer it back to a bowl.

While the mushroom caps and the bread crumbs are baking, melt the butter in a skillet until foam subsides, then add the chopped stems and onion until golden. Season with oregano, salt and pepper. Let this cool a bit and add the bread crumbs and the grated Parmesan cheese and toss well.

Turn the mushroom caps over and mould the stuffing in the caps, pressing gently. Place the stuffed mushrooms back in the oven until the mushrooms are tender and the stuffing is golden brown. This step should take about 15 minutes.

For the Mini Jacket Potatoes

1 kg of baby potatoes (washed and dried)
Olive oil
Coarse sea salt
A pack of smoked salmon
5 tablespoons of (hot) horseradish
5 tablespoons of cream cheese

Preheat the oven to 250°C.

Prepare a plate or a bowl with the salt. You can add herbs if you wish to. Grease the potatoes with olive oil and roll the potatoes on the salt. Place them in a baking pan and place it in the oven. It should take around 20 minutes for the potatoes to become soft and golden.

Meanwhile, prepare a paste mixing the cream cheese with the horseradish. Cut the smoked salmon into small pieces.

Once the potatoes are ready, wipe them with a paper towel to get rid of excess of salt. Cut them into halves and fill them with smoked salmon and the cream cheese and horseradish paste.

For the Brigadeiro de Colher with Digestive Biscuit Crumble:

1 tin of Carnation Condensed Milk
3 tablespoons of Cadbury Original Drinking Chocolate
Half a pack of Digestive Biscuits

Place the condensed milk and the chocolate in a bowl (suitable for microwave). Mix the two ingredients until a pale brown mix is formed. Place it in the microwave for 3 minutes and stir it well. Cook it in the microwave for another 3 minutes and stir it well. You will have a rich brown mix - brigadeiro.

Crumble the digestive biscuits. Place the brigadeiro in small bowls or roll them into balls. Either sprinkle the brigadeiro with the digestive biscuit crumble or roll the brigadeiro balls on the crumble, either way – it is heaven!

Everyone loved the finger food!

Bitter Experience

 Well, this is the type of post I would never thought I would do, however, this is something that does not get out of my head.

War against Libya.

Right, so Europe for the past couple of years has been all about the economic crisis, cutting costs, cutting of benefits, raising taxes, etc. So far, it is understandable with the credit crunch, bank issues etc. What I don’t understand is – where does the money for war comes from? Does war actually make money? Is there something I am missing? Is just that I don’t understand, England just removed the troops from Afghanistan and now they are going to attack Libya? A country which is being attacked by its own governments. How they are going to do that without hurting, even more, the people?

This is just a thought…


Dining Experience – Ladurée Bonaparte, Paris

Ladurée Bonaparte
21 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
T 01 44 07 64 87

I went to Paris last summer for a few days and convinced my husband to splurge a little and have breakfast at Ladurée. We went to Ladurée in Saint Germain, it was quite close to our hotel and the neighborhood is delightful, lovely shops and bistros.

You can see the entire menu from the Ladurée website. The tea room has a beautiful decoration, with Chinese motifs, beautiful wallpaper and furniture – as you would expect in a Ladurée tea room.

We ordered the Bonaparte Breakfast (EUR 27.00) which included a basket of mini viennoiseries and traditional bread with butter and jam, orange or grapefuit juice, coffee, tea or hot chocolate and a boiled egg and fresh fruit salad. It is a great brunch to start a day in Paris, specially when so much walking is involved.

The viennoiseries were perfect, one of the best pain au chocolat ever (although not as good as the Pâtisserie des Reves though – I will make a post on that soon), everything done to perfection. The only exception was the service, not as good as you would expect. It was lovely to sit there and see Parisian ladies having their breakfast together.

I highly recommend it, even if it is just to have a cup of coffee and a macaroon. You cannot go wrong with a Ladurée macaroon.


Lovely Experience – Dream Buy

I love baking and usually you need a good beater to prepare cakes, meringue, dough, etc. I usually to it all by hand as I have not bought a beater when we moved to our flat. Sometimes I think they are so difficult to use, clean, that I prefer to do the beating by hand, which of course is much more tiring and the result is not as good as with an electric beater. Anyhow, if I could afford one, I would have this one:

It would be part of my kitchen décor and would certainly not be shoved away in some odd cupboard. It is just beautiful!

*In case you are interested, you can find it at John Lewis, Debenhams, Amazon, House of Fraser, Wheesh (always the best prices for appliances) and many others.

Lovely Experience – Grilled Salmon, Warm Potato Salad and Asparagus

Today was a productive day in the kitchen. Sometimes I feel like eating junk food and not cooking so I don’t have do go in the kitchen at all. Which can sometimes really happen and I don’t even know what we have in the fridge. I am very lucky to have a husband who cooks and makes me tea and doesn’t mind when I have those days, maybe because he is quite happy to eat junk food!

We are both in a sabbatical, doing our Masters Degree which means we have lots of time to cook, if we feel like it. So, today I decided to make us a nice lunch. We had frozen salmon, fresh asparagus and organic potatoes from our Abel and Cole box. Here is what I’ve done. Serves 2.

Start with the warm potato salad, as potatoes take longer to cook than the other ingredients:

3-4 medium to small size potatoes, washed
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of horseradish
1 tablespoon of mayonnaise

Parboil the potatoes until tender. Drain and wait until it cools down a bit. Season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, mix the horseradish and mayonnaise together, then add to the potatoes and stir gently (be careful not to break the potatoes).

For the grilled salmon:

2 fillets of salmon
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Fines herbes
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Once the potatoes are cooked, heat up a non-stick frying pan, add some butter (approximately half tablespoon) and let it melt. When the butter is bubbling (hot) place the fillets and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and the fines herbes. Leave the fillets for about 4 minutes each side and keep en eye on them to see how they are doing. You'll get an idea of how they're cooking as you'll see the salmon change color. I did the salmon still frozen so it took a little longer to cook than it would if it was fresh. The fact that the salmon was frozen did not change the texture or the taste, it was still great. When the salmon fillets were nearly cooked, I added the lemon juice on top of the fillets.


6 asparagus
Butter or olive oil
Salt and pepper
Half a lemon (zest and juice)

Trim off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus, quickly rinse the tips, and add the butter or olive oil on a non-stick pan. After the butter is melted, lay the asparagus and keep gently turning them until cooked. Add the lemon zest and juice.

Bon appétit!


Lovely Experience – Spicy Fruit Salad

The weather is getting better in London and today was sunny, dry and lovely. I went out for a walk/jog and when I came back home later in the day I felt like having something fresh. In this week’s Abel and Cole fruit and veg box there were blood oranges and I also got some regular oranges and seedless grapes… So, here it goes:

1 orange
1 blood orange
10 grapes
1 small piece of fresh ginger grated (around 1 inch would do)

Peel and chop the oranges into chunks (bite size), chop the grapes in halves and grate the ginger. Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy! If you prefer something less spicy, you can use thinly chopped stem ginger instead. 

I have a suggested soundtrack for this recipe (I always like to listen to music when I cook): Noah and the Whale, 5 Years Time.

Dining Experience – Paul’s

82A Holland Park Avenue

W11 3RB
T 0207 727 3797

This is a patisserie which you can find virtually everywhere in London (check the website for the addresses) and I particularly like the one close to home. It is a lovely place to go and have breakfast or tea in the afternoon. They have the very best viennoiserie in London. I don’t think I have enough words to explain. Usually they are small with 4-5 tables, which is quite cozy. It is difficult to choose between croissants, pain au chocolat, escargot raisin… Just lovely!

Lovely Experience - Apple & Blueberry Crumble

I usually cook without measures and many of my recipes are a mixture of many recipes, ideas and tips (from my Mum, Grandma and Sister mainly). But I have been trying to think when I cook so I am able to share here.

For the filling:

3 Bramley apples (any other apple should do)
1 box of blueberries
4 tablespoons of sherry
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of mixed spices
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Peel and core the apples. Cut the apples into chunks (not too small, otherwise it will melt completely when baked) and place the apples, blueberries and all the ingredients in a pirex (which goes in the oven), mix them together and bake it in an oven at 200°C. About 30 minutes should do. The apples will be tender and golden.

For the crumble:

You can be quite creative here and mix your preferred nuts, oats or just plain flour, sugar and butter.

15g rolled oats
25g wholemeal flour
20g sugar (I prefer brown sugar, but any sugar will do)
35g margarine or butter (I prefer butter)

Place the flour and oats in a bowl and mix well. Cut the margarine or butter in to small cubes and add this to the oats and flour. Mix with your fingertips until it resembles an even crumb texture. Add the sugar and mix through. Also, if you like, you can add some cinnamon.

Cover the roasted fruits with the crumble and bake it in the oven at 200°C for 20 minutes.