Ajo Blanco and Bresaola

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It’s been already a long time we wanted to make the Ajo Blanco and finally we found the right moment. We started a few days ago a cleaning diet, it goes for 21 days. We are quitting to dairy products, gluten, any kind of sugar, coffee, alcohol and refined products. The idea behind is to clean your body and to reintroduce those ingredients after the diet and to watch very carefully how your body reacts.
We are basing our diet on fresh vegetables, animal proteins, nuts, berries, fresh juices and smoothies. We have been creating all these nice recipes lately and this one came up recently after making a short brainstorming.
We decided to make the ajo blanco altogether with the bresaola to explain you what our daily diet consists. Ajo blanco is a typical dish in the south of Spain, another products thanks to the cultural interchange in the peninsula with the northern countries of Africa centuries ago. Its a simply soup made basically with peeled almonds, soaked into water and later blended altogether with some garlic, white bread, olive oil and salt and pepper.We decided to give this soup a nice flavour with some grilled vegetables. To keep the smooth and white colour we went with white vegetables, like mushrooms and celeriac, grilled and roasted to take most of the flavor out.

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On the other hand the bresaola its a typical Italian product, basically its a air-dried, salted meat, that has been aged for up to three months until it becomes hard and turns dark red, later its been sliced and used as a carpaccio. For the original bresaola they use horse meat, but nowadays the beef bresaola is much more common.

For the Ajo Blanco you will need:

  • 200gr of peeled and unsalted almonds.
  • ½ liter of cold water.
  • 150gr of white mushrooms
  • ¼ of a chopped celeriac
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Two dashes of olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 branches of dried thyme
  • Juice of half of lemon
  • Chili (optional)
  • A branch of coriander

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And this is how you make it:

  1. First soaked the almonds into the cold water for an hour.
  2. Now, preheat the oven up to 180°C. Then chopped both mushrooms and celeriac in small chunks. Take two baking trays, place some olive oil on top and then place the chopped vegetables. Add some salt and pepper, some move olive oil with the thyme and put them into oven. We want them roasted and grilled, so think about half and hour for both will be enough (put aside some of the chopped mushrooms for decoration).
  3. After the veggies are properly grilled we can start blending the mixture. Place the almonds, water and garlic in the blender and start mixing for some minutes. Now add the rest of the ingredients and mix for another minute. If the mixture is still thick add some more water. Correct salt and pepper if necessary
  4. For the garnish, place into a small bowl some olive oil and chopped finely the coriander, mix them together, add some salt and pepper.
  5. Finally just place the creamy and fluffy ajo blanco in your favourite bowl, decorate it with the coriander oil and place some of the roasted mushrooms on top. Enjoy!

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For the Bresaola you will need:

  • 150grs of sliced bresaola
  • A handful of baby spinach
  • 10-12 long green beans
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbps of roasted pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped parsley
  • Fresh lemon juice.

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And this is how you make it.

  1. Roasted your pine nuts into a pan placed on a medium high temperature stove, and shake them constantly, careful to not burn them. Set aside.
  2. Place the bresaola on your plate and decorate it as you wish.
  3. Meanwhile place a pan on the stove again on a high temperature, add a dash of olive oil, the chopped garlic clove and add the green beans, sauté them shortly, you can also boil them quickly before doing this step. I love these beans when they are still crunchy.
  4. For finishing the plate just place the fresh and washed spinach on top of the bresaola, place also the green beans and decorate with pine nuts. Add some fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, olive oil and chopped parsley.
  5. Now enjoy!

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With love.

Iker & Julia.

 

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Skillet Eggs – Shakshuka

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The first time that I had visited Julia´s flat, I remembered it specially for a lot of things, like the thousand of times my forehead hit the lamp hanging in the living room. It had a metallic ring and on top thousand of coins of places Julia visited before. Coins running everywhere. But what specially caught my attention was the piles of books that were even stocked on the floor. Piles of books! I was surprised by this first fact, meanwhile we were wondering what we could have for dinner, Julia had suggested Orichiette, (had to say that I love any kind of pasta type where sauce or solid elements can get trapped in it) and we start cooking, hitting myself everywhere! Then at this second stage of surprise, when I realized the amount of different spices, from all around the world, tea varieties and a fridge full of different vegetables. I was so surprised by the fact I was in front of a person who loves reading and then share my biggest passion, which is the curiosity. Then she taught me how she likes the Orichiette done.

Later on, when I started asking her about the reason of my surprise, which I couldn’t hide my smiley face all the time, she explained to me that she also loves traveling. Jackpot!

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I don’t remember when, maybe it was my second or third visit to her flat, coming after work really late at night, we were really hungry, seriously starving for something quick. After checking what she had at home I purpose her a simple dish we could craft in a blink on an eye. Actually I had no name for it, but I used to have it quite often at home, specially when I used to go every October to the South of the Basque Country with my cousins on hunting, gather mushrooms and spend some days in the mountain. We used to carry always a useful bag where to take wine and make kalimotxo for drinking there, but due the wind and how cold started to be we also liked to cook up there.

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Shakshuka. We took with us a lot of chorizo, bacon and meat to cook on the fire, carrying some nice cheese and bread in a town around Pipaon, where the wild doves were coming from the French-Spanish Landas heading South of the Peninsula to escape from the cold season. I remember to craft this dish there making a fire to heat us up, but not that big since is not allowed during the hunting season, and being honest, can scare the bands of doves passing above us.

It is usually common in the Basque Country after the tomatoes season, when you have dozens of kilograms of them at home, to make the know “Tomate Frito” and stock it in glass containers for the rest of the winter season. Basically you make a nice sofrito with choricero peppers, onion, tomatoes, garlic and olive oil adding later the peeled tomatoes, blending it up until you have a homogenous consistency and use it for later. We took a couple of these to the mountain and actually my cousin has a really nice recipe which make this dish simple but deliciously like for taking bread and cleaning the pan with it. It was stunning. Perfect meal surrounded by nature. Hunting is not my passion, I got lost gathering mushrooms and taking plants, Julia loves this story, but we will tell you that on another occasion!

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So for making this Shakshuka, for 4 hungry people, you will need:

Ingredients:

  • 2 big yellow onions (chopped in rings)
  • 4 peppers (we took red and yellow) chopped in long stripes
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped in small pieces
  • 500gr of peeled tomatoes
  • Red pepper powder
  • 6 fresh eggs
  • 4 dry tomatoes (Click on the link to see how to make them!)
  • 1 Cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

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And this is how you you make Shakshuka:

  1. Take a large stainless steel pan and place it on the stove on high temperature.
  2. When its already hot place 50-60ml of olive oil and stir in the onion together with the chopped garlic.
  3. Make it really golden brown and soft, we want to make a nice sofrito base, since is going to be the foundation of our dish!
  4. When its already done I like to add here some salt and fresh grounded pepper and then I stir in the chopped red and yellow peppers.
  5. You must cook them enough, meanwhile enjoy the music your ingredients are doing, are you able to hear those small explosions in your pan? That’s a good sign! Control your fire temperature though!
  6. Once they are enough golden brown and soft we add at this point the peeled tomatoes, the dry chopped tomatoes and the Cayenne pepper. We let it cook like for 15 minutes, being carefully to check the liquid, to not get completely dry and burn, and also to stir all the ingredients from time to time.
  7. After this period of time correct the salt and pepper of your preparation if needed. The mixture should not be dry but neither liquid, find a balance, and then make some holes where to place the eggs. Crack them and place them in the spots. Let them cook until ready, I also like to place some salt and pepper on top of the eggs.
  8. When they are ready, take the pan out of the fire and sprinkle on top some freshly chopped chives or parsley. Serve it IMMEDIATELY! And be sure to have enough bread and a good wine in company with.

We share this nice dish together with the family, and it was great! There was nothing left, and as promised before, everyone finished their meal cleaning the pan with bread. We ate them together with an amazing freshly chickpea salad that Katy made for us, we played some Monopoly after the meal and after some glasses of wine, some drinks Julia crafted and a nice company we finished this day. Amazing huh?

Shashuka! We highly recommend you to try this recipe, but even more to share it with friends and your beloved ones! There is no fail with this easy and nice recipe and you will surprise everyone!

Want to tell us your story? Please share it with us!

Please Remember you can follow us in Instagram and Twitter!

With love.

Julia and Iker.

Rum ‘o clock and Laranja

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It’s been a while since the last post, but we have been very busy with looking for jobs and organizing everything. Today it’s sunday, a very rainy sunday and finally we made it to get a new entry. The more we continue with the blog, the more we love it. I really like this mixture of food and drinks, a combination of our two big passions. Iker is more the food- part and I represent more the drinking- part, but while sharing ideas, it doesn’t matter if Iker is a patissier or not,  if I am a barkeeper or not, because at the end, we both take part of the process and today I am really happy with the result. A Cocktail for rainy spring days and cold winter days. I hope you will like it as well!

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In Vienna we used to have a nice minibar with spirits and liquors and we really miss this minibar, because when friends are coming over for dinner it’s always a nice extra to serve a cool drink: A sparkling aperitif to welcome them and a strong digestive to say goodbye. This week we had this brilliant idea, that every time we go for a bigger food shopping we get a bottle of liquor and I think in a few weeks our missed home bar is gonna be back. This week we got this nice rum, Aniversario Pampero  and I think it’s perfect for simple, but special drinks. While thinking about the recipe, I remembered that my sister brought me black tea from Russia, which I actually never used before. So we started to make this black tea and the taste was surprisingly good, a slightly fruity taste!

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But we were still not completely happy with the result, so we decided to make another drink. Thats why our entry today includes two new drinks: A Rum’o clock and a Laranja!  The drinks a very similar, but each one special for itself.

Ok, let’s start with the Laranja: 

  • 3cl Rum Aniversario
  • 2cl Cointreau
  • 1-2 cl Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 cl Pure Maple Sirup
  • 4cl Fresh Blood Orange Juice
  • Shaker and Ice Cubes

Place all the liquors and juices plus ice cubes in a shaker and start shaking. The more ice you add and the more you shake, the more creamy your cocktail is gonna be.Fill the drink in one of your most beautiful glasses and serve it with a flower or just simply an orange twist! Cheers!

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Drink numer 2: Rum’o clock: 

  • 3cl Rum Aniversario
  • 2cl Cointreau
  • 5cl High Quality Black Tea
  • 2cl Pure Maple Sirup
  • 1cl Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Shaker and Ice Cubes

Place all the ingredients plus ice cubes in a shaker and start shaking. Shake it long enough to get a nice creamy top. Serve it in a nice Cocktail glass or other glass of your choice.

I promise this sunday is not gonna be that rainy anymore!

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Iker& Julia, xx

 

I Scream “Ice Cream”

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The last days here in Meran have been really hot, it already feels like summer. Hot weather means a lot of ice cream and we definitely need ice cream right now. My grandma gave us her old Ice Cream Maker, I really don’t know how old this machine is, but it still works. And the cool thing about those Ice Cream maker is, whenever you are in the mood for a cold dessert: sorbet, ice cream, frozen yogurt or whatever, you can have one in like 30 min. You are also very free by deciding, if your ice Cream should be more fruity/healthy or heavy/creamy. You can skip the cream and just use frozen Berries or fruits and for sweeten it, just use some tablespoon of  pure Maple Sirup. During the last week we tried already quite a lot of recipes, with some very tasty results and some failing, the Grapefruit- Sage Ice Cream could not make it in our Top 2. Today we want to show you our favorites:
A Blueberry- Thyme Ice Cream and a Strawberry- Raspberry- Rhubarb Ice Cream.

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Lets start with the Strawberry- Raspberry- Rhubarb recipe: 

  • 3 Stalks of Rhubarb
  • 300 g Strawberries
  • 300 g Raspberries
  • 375 ml Water
  • 150 g Brown Sugar

Step by Step: 

  1. Take the rhubarb and wash it carefully under the sink, and then chop off the leafs that the stalks could contain. Besides you need to peel off the red skin from stalks, first removing the hard tip of the bottom and then with the help of a knife, grab the think skin and peel it off until you remove it completely. (You have to remove both leafs and skin due the presence of oxalate in the rhubarb which is more present in the leafs than the rest of the plant, but don’t throw it away, because by cooking the skin, you get the red color of the rhubarb!)
  2. Now place the water in a pot altogether with the peels you set aside before and let them simmer until the color have been translated in the cooking water. Remove away the peels and now place it the chopped rhubarb.
  3. I like to chop the stalks in piece I can handle better before. For example to make a confiture, to put in my muesli later etc. So you can always cut it in pieces of 3-4cm long or if they are too wide you can cut them in half! For this recipe you can follow this idea, or to make it quicker, cut them in really small pieces so the cooking process will be shorter.
  4. Simmer the rhubarb and cook until it’s completely soft. Now place in the sugar, strawberries, raspberries and bring this mixture to a boil.
  5. With the help of a hand mixing machine, mix everything together and then sift it. Place it in a metallic bowl covered with plastic film on top of the mixture and put in in the fridge until it’s cold. (A mixture that we let rest in the fridge at least for 24hrs will gain more stabilization and consistency when it has to be worked in the ice cream machine). 
  6. Now place the mixture in the Ice Cream Maker, set the time and active the machine. There’s not a perfect time, each brand works different, posses a different motor, capacity etc. So the best tip is to keep an eye on it always. Our machine has a capacity for half a liter of mixture and it takes between 30-40 min to be ready since the machine is not that awesome!
  7. You know that the mixture is ready when it have been hardened enough to be hold in a spoon without spreading or falling like a pudding. Needs consistency and a body that we will work later in the freezer on -10º or -15ºC.
  8. So pour your mixture in that plastic or metallic and place it in the freezer for at least one hour.
  9. Feel free to enjoy it whenever you want

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*In order to have a creamy and perfect ice cream or sorbet all the time you might need to use some stabilizer that helps this process efficiently! For this same recipe we’ve tried with 50grs of trimoline/inverted sugar that we dissolved in the cooking water when we put all the ingredients in.

For the Blueberry- Thyme Ice Cream: 

  • 300 g Blueberries (we used frozen ones, but you can also use fresh Blueberries)
  • 300 g Water
  • 100 g Maple Sirup
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Step by Step: 

Put the Blueberries in a bowl and tip out the leaves from the branch. Give the water and the Maple Sirup in a pot and heat it up, when it starts boiling, remove it from the stove and pour it over the blueberries, let it rest and soak till the mixture is cooled down, this will take about 15-20 min. Give the cold mixture in a blender or food processor and start blending, you will get a smooth and creamy mixture. Strain it carefully in an other bowl and pour the mixture in the Ice Maker. To have a creamy Ice Cream it will take about 30 min, but better you check after 20 min frequently. Store it in a jar in your freezer, Enjoy!

Iker& Julia

 

Dried Tomatoes

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Our first post from Meran, the City where I grow up and which is full of memories. But something is different, Iker is here and it feels really nice to spent the summer with him here, surrounded by nature and a lot of sun. The last days were quite busy, preparing, getting organized, unpacking, meeting friends and family. For me actually nothing really changed, but for Iker it’s a really exiting experience. We have a little flat with garden, including a veggie garden, which is so awesome. Collecting fresh herbs and Vegetables for the daily cooking. We also found some old kitchen machines, like an ice cream maker and a juicer and we are so excited to experiment with them. Yesterday we went to the local farmer marker, which is so small compared to the markets in Vienna, Iker was quite surprised: “That’s all?? How cute!” Things are different than in a bigger city, but for a few months it feels nice to be a bit disconnected.
We got some nice tomatoes and a lot of other things and we are ready to make some nice new entries!

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What you need for the dried tomatoes:

  • 3 kg of Tomatoes (we took the long and big ones, Pelati- Tomatoes)
  • a Dehydrator ( if you don’t have one you can also do it in the Oven)

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Let’s get started:

Wash your tomatoes with cold water and beginn to cut them in half, like on the picture above. Once you are finsished with the tomatoes put them on the round fences of the Dehydrater. Let them dry for about 24h at 60 °C.
For making them in the oven, use also 60°C and check after about 10h.

Once your tomatoes are finished, you can use them for a lot of dishes: For salads, on the Pizza, in a Pasta- dish. You will see it gives a lovely flavour to any dish! To make them last longer, you can put them also in a jar with Olive Oil, Garlic and Herbs.

Iker and Julia xx

Chapter II: Merano

Chapter II: Merano.

So is it! The day has come and we move out of Vienna to come to the hometown of Julia, it’s the second biggest city in the region called South Tirol in Italy. It’s an splendid and great city surrounded by such a high mountains which can even surpass 2000mts, maybe from where are you from dear reader this might could not be surprising for you, but from the single fact that laying on bed every morning looking through the window and seeing the first sun rays entering and lighting up the house, you will see such a great sculptures made of soil and stone covering and trapping all these valleys and small towns, they still covered by snow on the hills.

It’s a new air we are breathing here, it took a couple of days to bring everything in the flat, fix it, throw away a lot of things that were inside, paint it and pump it! You cannot believe how many boxes we brought from Vienna just carrying inside things for cooking. We were so surprised that they were more than clothes!

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After all these days of hard work in the flat, that result into a cosy and warm new place we like to call home, we started our new project! Since we already localized companies that can provide us with boxes full of mysterious ingredients, from local farmers who bring them to the city. Julia and me, we are over excited to see what new ingredients we get here for start cooking.

But! The great new and reason of this entry is due to our new plan here in Merano. Let us tell you what it is. We have a big garden outside, were plants, flowers and even apricot and figs trees are outside, but besides this we were dying since ages to tell all of you of our new veggie garden we will plant in here!

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So we took the car, warm it up and go to visit Barbara. We got from her (a friend and neighbour of Julia) that works in an amazing garden store a lot of things, after talking and sharing our experiences in Vienna, she explained to us a bit about the seasonal products, which are most likely to grow up and which are better to the conditions of our garden, and since the season in fact it’s starting earlier due the good weather this year, we might be able to plant few things a couple of times!

We fill up the car we so many things, rhubarb, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, coriander, lemon peppermint, beet roots and a lot more of herbs and veggies, which we are not describe all of them here to keep the surprise for further entries! ; )

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We bring everything home and we immediately started the hard work, cleaning the soil of roots and dry leaves, removing rocks and working the land so we could refresh it with a bit of new hummus and make the channels for planting and walking through. We started with a small one planning to expand it through time depending on when it’s better to plant certain things.

It took a lot of time to make such a nice garden, we were covered by soil, throwing each other worms and putting so much love and patience in this new creature we are letting grown up in the back of our new home!

Merano seems like a new and perfect start for us, we are having such a nice beginning surrounded by family, friends and this beautiful country!

We will share with all of you how our garden it’s working through the time.

Have a nice weekend everybody and please share with us your comments, we will be happy to hear from all of you and keep answering your doubts about our projects!

Da Vienna a Merano! Ciao a tutti!

Cod with Topinambour puree and roasted Fennel

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Julia: The last days have been very busy , because we are moving away from Vienna: packing, organizing, painting, saying goodbye.

We are really exited to spend the summer in Meran, my hometown. Even though it wasn’t really the plan to go to South Tyrol, I think we are gonna have wonderful time there, enjoying the summer, sun and mountains!

While packing and getting ready for the moving, we wanted to post our weekly recipe and I think this week we have been very successful. A few days before we got some new plates for our dishes, because after a while it’s getting sort of boring, eating always from the same plates.

This week we wanted to cook a nice fish dish, seasonable to this lovely and warm spring days. We barely buy fresh fish in Vienna, because it’s not so easy to get a fresh one and besides that it’s really expensive. It’s also the first time we cook with topinambour(Jerusalem Artichoke) and to be honest I really like the flavor. For me it tastes a lot like artichokes; we made a puree out of it by cooing the peel and the flesh.

 

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What you need for this dish, 2 serves: 

  • 5 tubers of Topinambour.
  • 1/2 Fennel.
  • 200 gr of Cod. (without scales, skin or spines)
  • 2 pieces of baby Radish
  • Purple and green sprouts
  • Green tips from the fennel.
  • 30 ml of dark beer
  • Black Sesame seeds
  • Sesame oil
  • 1 Garlic clove.
  • Roasted Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil

And this is how you do it:

  1. We will start with the topinambour puree:  Take a small pot with water and some salt and bring it to boil , cook the topinambour for about 20 min till it get’s soft. Strain it and keep some of the water for blending afterwards. Place it inside a blender, add Olive Oil, some of the water you cooked it in, Salt and Pepper. You don’t need much more of herbs, because the topinambour has a very strong flavor itself. Blend it till you get a creamy mixture.
  2. Wash and cut the fennel in small pieces. Place a pot on high heat add some Olive Oil and add the fennel. Let it roast till it gets a nice golden color on both sides, then add the cumin on top, reduce the heat until low adding also salt and pepper and cook just a little bit longer, so they are still crunchy but softer. At the very end add the dark beer and covering with a lid let it reduce. Turn off the fire and let them rest.
  3. For the fish, place in in a small bowl, add salt, pepper, sesame oil and the garlic clove smashed and chopped finely. Spread all the ingredients around the fish and let it rest for a few minutes. For cooking just place a pan on medium fire with a little bit of olive oil. Put the fish and let it cook until golden brown. Flip and repeat the process for a short period of time, don’t let your fish get dry! Place it out of the pan and let it rest.
  4. For plating it’s really simple, just begging cutting off the greens of the fennel and some colorfully sprouts, also peel along some radish or you can simply cut them in circles. These small things makes a difference at the final presentation, as you can see in the pictures, are some small tips for make your dish look more tastier and beautiful!
  5. Place some hot topinambour puree on the middle of the plate, place the fish on top of it or on a side and then the cooked fennel that you can stand it up or lay it down. At the end some of the sprouts and greens all around. spread some black sesame seeds on top of the fish and that’s all!DSC_0148

This is a really nice example of how different can you make a same dish using these small tips that makes of your dinner looks much better!

We must say that the tried the topinambour couple of weeks ago in a restaurant and we were surprised of how deep was the flavour and how tasty and incredible was found it in a dinner! Afterwards thinking on making a fish plates, these main ingredients together with the fennel makes of it a recipe from scratch, the three of them combines very well and the difference in the textures inside is amazing!

We are really happy of this recipe and we would be even more if we hear you repeat it. These are some of the dishes we got couple of weeks ago and we had a nice time decorating and placing these amusing ingredients on top, here you have some suggestions how you could plate it, adventure yourself and try a new way, share your experience with us!

 

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Best regards!

Julia & Iker! ( :