pain au levain

Baking levain bread is a very slow process but it yields delicious bread! I followed the Ken Forkish's levain bread recipes from his book: the Overnight Country Brown rested for about 13 hours before shaping and tripled in size. The second recipe was his Feild Blend #1 that has whole wheat and rye flour and was shaped last night, rest in the fridge overnight and was baked today in the morning. I keep 2 wild yeast starters, a whole wheat flour (which I used for all these breads) and a white wheat flour starter that I use to make Pão Alentejano. I loved the flavor that comes from long fermentation and wild yeasts: it's slightly acid, with a delicious crust and soft interior.

whole wheat starter

This is how the Overnight Country Brown looked like after 13 hours of bulk fermentation.

Proofing in a basket

Lots of bread!!

Tart dinner

I've been working for the past year at the Little Tart, the best bakeshop in Atlanta, with a team of wonderful (and beautiful) people who I really admire and consider friends. Even though it is lots of hard work, we laugh, joke, sing, dance and comment on all the sexy customers that walk into the shop. And sometimes we even bake things! So my way of saying thank you for this amazing year, for this learning experience, for believing in me and for making me feel part of the Tart family was to host everyone at our place and treat them to a Portuguese dinner: arroz de cabidela, moelas, broa, pão alentejano, alheira, chouriço, migas, marmelada, leite creme, mexidos, amendoa amarga, favaios e ginginha.      

Love you guys!

2 years

2 years today. many more ahead. 

To New Orleans, with love from China

Everyone likes a parade: the music, the people smiling and cheering, the mayor in the convertible, the marching band. But in New Orleans, the Saint Patrick's day parade has all this and more and it comes all the way from China!

The "'tradition" has it that men get all dressed up (which means wearing polyester!) and ask the girls for kisses in exchange for flowers and shiny necklaces. But it's all plastic. From China. I recognize that it's almost inevitable to buy cheap from China and that it's all in the name of fun. But there were thousands of plastic flowers and plastic beaded necklaces being given away only to end up in landfills. This really is the land of plenty and also the land of wastefulness.  

We only realized the proportions of the whole parade closer to the end when trailers of people threw the weirdest and unexpected things at the crowds that were cheering and asking for more. I'm not only talking about necklaces but cookies, carrots, candy, ramen noodles, plastic toys, plush toys, and my all time favorite... cabbages. Whole green cabbages tossed around. People we spoke to say it's a lot worse during Mardi Gras....

In the end we brought home around 3kg of beaded necklaces, 4 cabbages, and cookies and carrots that we ate on the drive home. We'll probably keep the necklaces for future use like maybe another Burning Man, cause it really choked us to see what it all looks like after the parade goes through town:

atlanta, as seen from an open top car

Last weekend we went for a ride in downtown Atlanta in our very cool convertible and all I did was look up!

green is my favorite colour

For about 3 months now I've changed my diet. I'm not on a diet. Goodness gracious! I've simply changed my eating habits. More raw green vegetables, more fresh fruit, more nuts, less dairy, less meat, less sugar and above all no processed stuff. It's not that I completely turned my back to the "bad stuff", after all I do work in a bakery, but I decided to indulge in more healthier habits. It all started with coffee. I cut off the usual morning coffee with milk and toast for an almond milk smoothie with fruit, nuts, chia and flax meal or just a plain bowl of raw oatmeal porridge (which is delicious by the way!). Soon I found myself blending spinach and kale with a whole bunch of other fruits and vegetable and gobbling down green smoothies and loving it! The energy I get from this new and improved lifestyle is incredible! There is no turning back.