January and February have past by in the blink of an eye. It seems like only yesterday when I said goodbye to my parents at the departure gate of the airport at Christmas. Even thought I knew I would see them again in Spain at the end of January, I somehow felt sad to see them leave. I wonder if after four years living abroad when I would start learning how to manage my emotions in these situations. Will this ever be possible?
On the 3rd of January, I was queuing at my gym to cancel my membership. This was very odd as everyone else seemed to be wanting to join it. Nevertheless, on the same day, S and I decided to start one of those trendy 30-day no alcohol challenges, only that we completed just 25 days. Just to clarify, it was not because we gave up, it was purely because ... we are very fascinated by the number 25, all right?!!
January was almost over when S and I got ready for our little boat trip, heading to the Basque Country, the North of Spain, to meet my parents and collect some bespoke furniture that my dad had made for us. There was a lot of furniture; two wardrobes, tv and pantry units, more storage furniture for the garage, a king size mattress, lamps, bed side tables.
Honestly, I wasn't looking forward to it, I mean the trip, not the furniture. I even asked S if we could get them by plane. - Err, I don't think all will fit in the luggage cabin Lau. - - Bugger! Taking into account that I get dizzy on the teacup ride at the amusement park, I predicted this trip wasn't going to bring me good memories. And actually it turned out being my worse ever experience on the sea.
I have to say the ferry was quite nice, like a mini cruise ship with its own cinema, disco and even a beauty salon! I swear it took me just ten minutes after the ferry disembarked for me to become really seasick. I spent the longest 30 hours of my life in a bed, trying to keep all my liquids down and wondering who the hell could do nails on this bloody ferry in this horrible weather.
But we made it, we arrived safely in Bilbao almost at midnight, 6-hours late. However, I did still get to meet my parents for a drink and laugh at my recently adventure at the sea. We stayed that night in a very nice hotel in the city, excited to be able to sleep in a comfy bed, even though I could still felt the swaying of the waves. The next morning, we had breakfast, shifted all the furniture from my dad's van and in to ours, and.. that was all, our trip came to the end and knew I had to say goodbye to my parents again.
At the farewell moment, I couldn't help but cry like a little girl and begged them to take me with them to Barcelona. I would prefer a 6 hour road trip rather than having to be 30 endless hours on another ferry. I got seasick at the very thought of it! However all was well, on the way back a couple of seasick tablets saved me even though the trip back to England was as rough as our journey out.
Every since we arrived back at the start of February, every spare minute S and I had has been spent trying to put together the furniture. There were hundreds of pieces to assemble with no instructions, and it took an entire weekend to managed to finish just one wardrobe . We practically lived in a chaos, surrounded by toolkits and cartons for almost four weeks but once all done and finished, even with that terrible boat trip, I can say all was worth it.
As our house became tidy and organised and life returned to normal, I was so eager to get back and start cooking and shooting. To overcome my withdrawal, I made a stop motion video which I had been wanting to try for a long time. Unfortunately, I can't share it here as it's too big to upload, but if you follow me on Instagram, you will find it there by following this link.
Hope you have a lovely week ahead and happy cooking!
Chocolate ricotta tart with blood oranges
FOR THE CRUST:
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
arrowroot for rolling out dough
1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg white to brush the edges of the tarts
50 gr. melted dark chocolate
1/4 cup chopped almonds
500g fresh ricotta
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 or 2 blood oranges, thinly sliced
50 gr. melted dark chocolate
Heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F.:
In a medium bowl, sift and mix together the almond flour, coconut flour and salt until combined. Then, using a food processor, add in to the flour mixture the cold butter and combine well until you get like little peas.
Add the egg and pulse just until the pastry begins to form. Then, cover the pastry with plastic film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Transfer the pastry to a top work covered with parchment paper. Lightly dust the surface with tapioca and the pastry ball and roll out to fit a 35cm. x 11cm Loose-Bottom Rectangular Fluted Tart Tin (13 3/4" x 4 1/4").
Carefully transfer the pastry to the tarts tins, using your fingers to repair any cracks, Trim the edges and prick each of the bases with a fork.
Brush the edges of pastry with the white egg and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is dry and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
While the pastry case is chilling, make the ricotta filling. Place the ricotta, maple syrup and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk for 4–5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Once the tart case is cool enough to handle, carefully pour the melted chocolate over the edge of the tart, (I used a teaspoon), then straight after, sprinkle the chopped almonds until cover the edge. Let it cool.
Spoon the filling into the tart case and using the same spoon, spread the mixture gently till fill the case. Then top with the blood orange slices.
Using the microwave, melt the dark chocolate, let it cool for a minute then drizzle all over the tart.