Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Apple strudel (vegan)

apple strudel
This is the one I made recently, with the supermarket puff pastry
 From what I managed to find out on the internet the original apple strudel is vegan, that's why I have it in brackets. This isn't a simplified version which lacks something or has it substituted, this is the real deal.
 Even though it's one of my favorite desserts and my go to hostess gift for dinner parties (and not only) this is the first time I did everything by myself. I would usually buy the puff pastry, reducing working time on 10 minutes. I thought it was about time to take a plunge and get my hands dirty.


-200 g all-purpose flour
-pinch of salt
-1 teaspoon white vinegar
-approx 1/2 cup lukewarm water

-3 apples (2 or 4 would work as well)
-2 tablespoons raisins (soaked in the rum and lukewarm water)
-1 tablespoon pine nuts (toasted)
-2 tablespoons demerara sugar (or any other)
-cinnamon (as much as you like, I think it's never enough)
-juice of half lemon
-breadcrumbs if you like, I skipped this

 Mix the flour in a bowl with with salt and vinegar, add some water and start working it. Add more water gradually as you need it, you'll figure out how much water you need, the dough shouldn't be too sticky. Form a ball and leave it covered on the room temperature for half an hour.

 Cut the apples (I peeled them as well) into small pieces, add lemon juice, raisins, pine nuts (I chopped them up a bit), sugar and cinnamon.

 Roll out the dough on a floured working surface, as thin as you can, into a rectangular shape. Spread your filling over the dough and fold the dough. Close the end like an envelope.

Oven for 40 minutes on 180°C.

Sprinkle with icing sugar.

My strudel turned out a bit pale, so I might have put the oven on 200°C as well, will try that the next time.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Girls, season 2 finale

 For all of you who still haven't seen it, stop reading now, watch the finale and then come back!

 For all rest, what was that?!? Even though I am a huge fan of SATC, Gossip Girl and other chic lit shows, I loved Girls because it was different. It wasn't a happily ever after show and television lacked that in this, young girls/ big city context. It was real, dramatic and, sometimes, disgusting, but that kept it real, closer to us. I'm sure there were times when each one of us could have related to one of the characters, at least for what we could have done. It was no fake promises, stockings from Germany or macarons from Paris, less Nora Ephron, more real life. In the last night's episode it felt as if Lena Dunham said 'let them eat cake'.
 As a result we got:
 Marnie and Charlie are back for good. No, no and no! He should have dumped her after everything he's been through for her, she never really cared about him. I simply don't believe in this type of second chances, I'm sorry Marnie.
 Hannah and Adam? Could have predicted that when they left him in the series, but I so don't like it.
 Shoshanna and Ray? One good thing, that girl has to live her life and not being stuck at home with her world-hating boyfriend.

 I was sure Natalia, or whatever her name was, would dump Adam after he got drunk and kind of raped her. Kind of because in this episode, she is still there, having sex with him, which confirms her consent for the abuse scene from the previous episode. I thought that was totally wrong, but if I think about it better, this is how us girls are, masochists when it comes to men.

My opinion on this season finale isn't the best one because it changed my whole perspective on the show, but I'm looking forward to the third season to see what way it will go.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Pedro the turkey

 Time to time I watch old movies, getting into character comes way more easily than with modern-day cinematography, at least for me. I am not always in the mood for an oldie, nor do I like all of them, but when I find the one I like in the right moment, I keep thinking about that movie for days, running through the scenes in my head.
 Last weekend I watched "Giant", an amazing film starring James Dean whom I like so much (I know it's a cliche', get over it) and Elisabeth Taylor. If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend it.
 There was this one scene with Leslie's (E. Taylor) kids who didn't want to eat Thanksgiving lunch because they realized it was a turkey they were playing with earlier that day. I think it's such a good example of how genuine we all are in early childhood, it's such a pity that growing up we lose that sense of guilt.

This weekend was "The Great Gatsby", I'm slowly getting into the Charleston mood while expecting Baz Luhrmann's version.

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

On vegan diet

 Almost two months ago I've decided it was time for me to give a go to the animal friendly diet (it wasn't my new year's resolution, it just happened like that). I decided I would try it for a month, just to see how it is.
 A month has passed yet I haven't gotten back to my old eating habits. I'm doing this the adjusted way, my way, but it still feels great! I don't know how long I will stick with it, I'm not giving any promises, but I'm certain I will always have the compassion in me.

 I have found it very hard to survive on a vegan diet in Italy. I don't want to use it as an excuse, but it really is, trust me! It works perfectly when eating at home, the problem is eating out and at other people's houses. A plant-based diet seems like something so hard to understand, and the few who get it seems they don't accept it. You can't even have a non dairy cappuccino for breakfast!

 At the beginning I was feeling tired and grumpy, but then I got some vitamin B complex supplements which helped a lot. (B12 can be found naturally only in foods from animal sources so supplement is needed.)

 I have put on some weight which might seem weird because people usually go down, but I have been eating way more white carbs than I did before. I still have to work on that even if I did not do this to lose weight.
I think this is psychological, I feel like I'm substituting animal products... I will figure it out eventually.

Here are the pictures of what I have been eating:

 On more than one occasion I was in a situation where I felt uncomfortable refusing food that I "wasn't" supposed to have, so I ate it. If I want to be honest, most of these times I really wanted it.
At my friend's place for a dinner; a friend I haven't seen in ages bringing Laduree macarons for a desert at my place; a friend of mine coming by my place at a late hour with 1 kilo of my favorite ice cream; my (by now) ex flatmate making a Bavarian breakfast just for me (it was an old promise and she had all the ingredients flown in from Germany); my best friend's traditional sushi birthday dinner (and this year it was even a goodbye dinner); my Argentinian friend bringing me traditional cookies from home...
Rose petals macaron; rose petals- white chocolate, pistachio and coffee- almond ice cream; mochi ice cream
Alfajores and mate, Argentinian traditional cookie and drink; Bavarian breakfast; more ice cream
 As you can see I haven't been very strict and for now this is how I will do it. I will cook vegan and tend to buy as many vegan products as I can, but for all the rest, eating out, at other peoples' places etc I will be flexible. This is my way.

 I am well aware vegan is a lifestyle and not a diet, but I'm not there yet. I'm not ready to completely change my lifestyle and I'm not sure I'm even going there, but for now this is where I stand!

If anyone has any advices, especially on the supplements, please fill me in!