Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Mexican (vegan) food in Belo Horizonte

I'm not cooking these days, but I'm having a lot of meals at my parents house and eating a lot of Brazilian typical food.

Lunch time at my parents house

It's not that hard to find different kinds of food in Brazil (French, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Mexican, etc). And we are going to some restaurants. There are just a few vegetarian restaurants in Belo Horizonte, none of them vegan, but we can find vegan options in regular places. It's not the ideal for me, but I'm OK with that. One of my favorite regular restaurants is the Mexican place Chilis Cocina Mexicana.

It's easy to "veganize" some of the menu options and this time we had some nachos as a start and burritos. The burritos here are different of the ones I usually eat in Ireland. They don't have rice in the filling, just a cream of beans (like mashed beans) and I prefer it in this way. I love beans and everything made with them. And the burritos come with some guacamole in the top too, what is perfect. And because we don't eat the meat, the cheese or the sour cream, we got pico-de-gallo (fresh uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and sometimes chiles). It was delicious and the staff was very friendly too, attending all the changes we asked without questioning.

Chilis Cocina Mexicana
Ponteio Lar Shopping
Loja R2

Belo Horizonte - MG - Brasil

PS. 1: I created a Facebook for the blog, join me there!
PS. 2: I'm finally preparing the first giveaway of the blog and it will be announced next week :)

Monday, 28 June 2010

Brazilian vegan products

Since we have arrived in my city, Belo Horizonte, I've been buying a lot of vegan products. Some of those I tried when I lived here, others are new ones. It's great to see how vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more known in Brazil. It's a slow process but it's working. Yesterday I went to a health fair and all the food there was vegetarian or vegan (I will blog about in the next days).

Here there is a small list of some of the stuff I bought:

1. Biscuits/cookies: I love them and Brazil has some good options. My favorite one is not exactly a biscuit but I love it: Goiabinha. It has "goiabada" (one kind of sweet done with sugar and guava) inside and it's really delicious.

2. Naturis soja: soya chocolate pudding.

3. Guarana with açaí: Guaraná Antartica is a national soda made with the fruit guaraná. It's really good and I miss it (Matteo bought a big bottle of Guaraná Antartica in Dublin, at the Brazilian store, but it was out of gas and it was too much expensive, so we just gave up on trying to have it there). And now there is this new option, with açaí (if you're not Brazilian, you know the fruit as "acai" but it is written with the "ç" and it sounds like "assai" - something like that). It's amazing. I could drink it everyday.

4. Batata palha temperada: this is a kind of potato chips in strips, very crisp and tasty. This one has also onion and parsley and it's perfect with a lot of sandwiches. I really miss it.

5. Shampoo and conditioner Ecologie: this company is very good and does not test on animals. I choosed the products made with pomegranate and wheat protein and they're really awesome.

I'll have more products to post in the next days.

PS. It's winter here and I'm enjoying amazing sunny days with 20°C. Today it's colder, so it's 13

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Meu Brasil brasileiro

With some friends at Vegacy - São Paulo

I'm in Brazil to see my family and my friends. The last time that me and Matteo came here was June 2009. One year without coming is a lot to me. But I'm doing the best I can. It's great to be home, to be with people that love me and miss me.

Vegan breakfest in the hotel: bread + strawberry and goiaba jelly

The flights from Dublin to Belo Horizonte, my city, stop in São Paulo, so we decided to stay one day there to see some friends (some of my best friends live there), get tattooed and eat. The best thing is that our tattooer (Teté) is also the owner of the vegan restaurant Vegacy, that we love, and both are in the same street. Couldn't be better. We had an amazing lunch there, went to the studio and came back in the evening to meet some people. I finally finished my arm that I start 4 years ago and now I have the ocean in my skin (L). Everything was perfect. I wish I could stay more days there cause I couldn't see everybody, but we don't have too much time and had to come to Belo Horizonte.

Itubaína: can't believe it was the first time that we drank it, too good.

Vegan lunch

In the end of the night we went to a pizzeria with Teté and his girlfriend and ate two awesome pizzas. Expensive, but very tasty.

There is good vegan food and products in Brazil and I'll try to post here as much as I can in the next few days, I'm taking pictures of everything.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

An excuse for ice cream!

It's almost summer time and even if I usually eat ice cream the whole year, it's always good to have one more reason to eat some delicious vegan ice cream. Last year I was invited to have some of my recipes on the German cookbook Ox #4 (Das Ox-Kochbuch Vier). You can order the book here if you speak German :) But because of the book is available just in German I decide to share here on of my favorite recipes that is on the book: the strawberry pavê. It is an easy dessert and I hope you all like it!

Vegan Strawberry Pavê

1 litre vegan vanilla ice cream
150g sliced strawberries
1 cup sugar
100g plain biscuits
Strawberry syrup (optional)

Leave the ice cream at room temperature for a few minutes and beat in a electric hand-held mixer to cream it. Bring back to the freezer. In a small sauce pan, place the sliced strawberries and the sugar and let it cook until make a syrup. Set aside and let it cool. Separate a part of the syrup, without the strawberries pieces to soften the biscuits (here you can use some soy milk - or coconut milk - instead of the syrup too). In a glass pan, make a layer with the biscuits, another one with the ice cream and one more with the strawberry syrup. Repeat the process until the end of the ingredients. Take to the freezer for 5/6 hours. At the time of serving, decorate with strawberry syrup and some fruits.

* This recipe was inspired by one of a good friend of mine, that has an amazing blog (in Portuguese), Aceita um café?. Thanks, Cinthia!

Monday, 14 June 2010

All about... The Happy Pear

Dublin has some vegetarian restaurants, most of them with good vegan options, but it's not a big list, so every time I go to a place here I feel like I will be writing in the blog about something or places that people already know, but I still think it's worth it to spread the word and to give different points of views of the same place.

This time I'm not writing about a restaurant in Dublin, but in Greystones, a lovely coastal town located on Ireland’s east coast. I went there before (the last time in March with a couple of friends) but had never been in the vegetarian restaurant The Happy Pear. I had read a good post about it at the blog of my friend Aoife (Adventures in Veg) and I couldn't wait to try the food there. So, a couple of weeks ago I went there with Matteo and my mother-in-law in a lovely and sunny Saturday (with our luck, we just got off the train and the weather changed, but it was still fine).

The Happy Pear is run by two twin brothers and it is, in fact, a natural food market with a café and a restaurant. The place is always crowded, with tables outside and at the first floor. They have a good selection of salads, main courses that change every day, soups and desserts. Me and Matteo had a paella + potato salad + hummus and my mother-in-law had a squash lasagna (vegetarian) + fruit salad. My meal was delicious. And I also had a slice of chocolate with nuts, really, really good.

After you eat, go to the food market and I'm sure you won't leave there with nothing in your hands. They have a lot of amazing homemade products and organic fruits and vegetables. I bought a strawberry jam, peaches and bananas. And their prices are good too, cheaper than Dublin.

If you come to Ireland and decide to take a short train trip, go to Greystones, walk on the beach and have a nice time at the Happy Pear :)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Japanese (vegan) sweets

A friend from Dublin came over last evening to coffee + vegan cupcakes + talks and he brought us a box of vegan Japanese sweets. He's a big fan of Japan (and I hope that he can move there someday!) and said that this is a typical gift to take to someone's house when visiting.

The small rice "cakes" have a very weird texture but they taste good. The peanut one is my favorite and there are other flavor like mango, read beans and green tea. I really know just a few about Japan and their culture and costumes but it was very nice to listen to him talk about there.

Thanks, xChrisx!

Monday, 7 June 2010

All about... Insomnia Coffee

I already had showed my love for coffee in this blog. If I could I would drink coffee all day, every single day of my life. But, as we all know, balance is the key for everything, so since last year I've reduced the amount of coffee that I drink every day (and replaced one or two cups for the decaf coffee). I usually have coffee at home, but I love to go out to have coffee with friends or family.

And this post is about the best place to go in Dublin: Insomnia. They are the largest coffee and sandwich retail chain in Ireland. You will find stores everywhere in the city (and also in the other Irish cities). Their menu is pretty much the same of the Starbucks menu, but their products are (a lot) cheaper. They have soya milk too, so you can have one caffe latte or one mocha. They use fairtrade and organic coffee too.

This weekend I went to two stores with my mother-in-law (she is Italian and drinks a lot of coffee): in Greystones and in Dublin (the closest store of St. Stephen's Green Park). It's a nice place to sit back, enjoy the coffee and talk. And it is a local option.

Support your local companies, stores and products.
Support organic and bio products.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Polenta flour - Part II

Here I am, back to talk about the polenta flour and the polenta dish. Polenta is a traditional Italian meal and it's from the north of Italy, exactly from where Matteo is. And he loves polenta. And I don't. I tried hard but I don't like it at all. Of course I eat it sometimes but it is not the kind of food that would be in any of my top lists.

A couple of weeks ago Matteo bought the polenta flour and he was pretty excited about it, so I decided to give another chance to the dish. Matteo cooked the polenta flour (it's easy and fast to do) and served it with tomato sauce with mushrooms and vegan cheese (Tofutti Mozzarella)
melted in the middle (the traditional way would have gorgonzola cheese). I can say that I prefer it with this way, but it's still not my thing. But if you are a fan of polenta, this is a good tip.


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