Out and about

If you’ve followed me for the last couple of weeks it might seem like I always stay at home cooking or doing some other house-y things, but today I’ve done something different, haha 🙂 I met my boyfriend for lunch in this great Indian restaurant close to Avenida Paulista and after we went to Latin America’s biggest book store. Have a look:

Salad first!

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My boyfriend chose alternative one which was dahl with chickpeas; vegetable curry; eggplant with fresh cheese and tomato sauce; and brown rice with corn.

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I chose alternative two which was vegetable curry; noodles with vegetables; and eggplant with fresh cheese and tomato sauce.

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Dessert was the same for both alternatives: queijadinha

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Queijadinha is like a super moist and creamy muffin, and it’s made of condensed milk, coconut and parmesan cheese. I admit that sounds weird, but it’s delicious!

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This is the menu for Tuesdays. They serve different dishes every day.

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I really like the decoration and the atmosphere in the restaurant!

The restaurant is called Gopala Hari and it’s located in Rua Antônio Carlos 429, close to the Consolação/Paulista metro station in São Paulo. They only serve lunch and every day there’s a new menu. You can choose between two alternatives and you can also choose between a small and a big portion. We usually have the small portion and are fine with that, but because of some misunderstanding we got the bigger one today and I got so full! For the beautiful price of 33 reais (28 for a small portion) you get the plates on the photos above, as much natural juice as you want, a salad and a dessert. During the weekend it’s a little more expensive, but not much and it’s still pretty cheap for São Paulo. I like the concept a lot and the atmosphere is really nice. The fact that it’s a vegetarian restaurant is also a plus, hehe… 😉

After lunch we headed to a small coffee place next to Conjunto Nacional which is where you can find the biggest book store of Latin America, Livraria Cultura. We had an espresso and then we were ready to enter the world of books. I was looking for an agenda for 2017 and I got exactly the one that I had seen online. Happiness, haha!

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Here’s a photo from Avenida Paulista, the main street of São Paulo, and also the financial center of the city, Brazil and Latin America:

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After some wandering around the book shops (who doesn’t love spending hours in book shops?), we headed back home and look what we saw on our way from the bus stop:

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What made me look first was the flower as I hadn’t seen a flower like that before, but then my boyfriend asked me if I was amazed by the small bananas. Which I hadn’t even seen yet! Haha, look at them! They’re so tiny 🙂 Brazil keeps amazing me every day, haha, gotta love it…

Now I have to go because I have a class in like 20 minutes and it takes me an hour to get there… Ops! I hope you’ve all had a great start to the week. Tomorrow is off for me and it’s gonna be so good 🙂 See you then!

– Guro

Practice makes perfect

Lately I’ve been very good at doing other things than staring at a screen all day. It doesn’t matter if it’s my phone or my computer. Today I had breakfast alone without looking at my phone and it felt really great. I felt more relaxed and also a little proud. Have you thought about how much time we spend on our phones, computers, tablets and TVs every day? I think it’s very scary to think about where we’re headed, so I try to be better.

During the weekend I did many things that didn’t require any technology. I painted my nighstand, I planted some herbs on our balcony and I knitted. I’m working on a black and super fluffy scarf, and even though winter is 6-7 months away I would love to finish it soon because my boyfriend have asked me to make him a sweater. The only knitting projects I’ve finished in my life have been things like socks, hats, scarved and other small things. I didn’t even make this super popular sweater that everyone knitted a couple of years ago in Norway. Everyone did it, but I guess I was too lazy.

So, now that my boyfriend wants me to knit a sweater for him I have to get better at this knitting thing. I should also start in January or February because I’m not very fast at knitting and I keep forgetting what kind of stitches I’m doing and I’ve never done a nice pattern before. Help! Well, I better get knitting because that’s the only way to get better. As they say, practice makes perfect, and I would really like to be a knitting lady 🙂

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It’s kind of hard to see the scarf as I was wearing all black and the scarf is also black, sorry for that 😉 I’ll show you when it’s finished! Now I have go to bed!

– Guro

Progress

I did it! I completed all the tasks that I had postponed forever and that I talked about on Monday in this post. The goals were:

  • Paint my nightstand √

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Two coats of yellow 🙂 As I’ve said before, we’re trying to stay far, far away from the Scandinavian white and grey style.

  • Buy a light bulb for my new nightstand lamp √
  • Throw out the dead plants √
  • Plant new plants (of course it started raining when I was about half-done) √

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Before I started. Please ignore our flower vases/bottles, haha!

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Escarole (broad-leaved endive) and rocket

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Coriander, basil, parsley and lettuce

I’m so happy that I got to do these things! Like I said, I had postponed them for a really long time, but every time I looked at the different things I got angry with myself for postponing them. In a couple of weeks we’ll have fresh herbs on our balcony, YES! And I can finally have a real nighstand with my things on it. From February until now I’ve used my suitcase. The big problem now is where to put my huge suitcase in our 37 m² apartment…

I hope you’re all having a nice and peaceful Sunday and that you’re ready for a new week tomorrow!

– Guro

Recipe: wholewheat bread

Happy Saturday, everyone!

This has been the greatest Saturday in a long time. We slept without an alarm and woke up around 10 am. Then we just stayed in bed reading news, checking social media etc until I got so hungry I couldn’t wait any longer to have breakfast. Yes, I get really hangry, haha! For breakfast we had the amazing bread that I’m about to give you the very precious recipe for plus coffee. After breakfast we moved over to the sofa and while my boyfriend watched stupid things on the internet (his words, not mine) I worked on the scarf that I’ve been knitting forever. The laziest and best morning in months.

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Gotta love bread!

I’ve been baking bread for many, many years now, but after moving here I’ve started missing wholewheat bread because the only dark bread you can get here have a terribly sweet taste and the texture is like spongy. Not cool! Anyway, I’ve used Bela Gil’s recipe from her first book for a while, but I wanted to make something else this week, so I used this recipe and changed it up quite a bit. It turned out so light and moist even though it’s full of wholewheat flour, oats and flax seeds. Success! Here you go:

For two loaves you’ll need:

  • 10 g dry yeast/30 g fresh yeast
  • 500 ml water, lukewarm
  • 4 tbsp oil (I used sunflower)
  • 300 g wholewheat flour
  • 250-300 g of natural (Greek) yoghurt
  • 50 g flax seeds
  • 100 g oats
  • 1,5 tsp salt
  • About 500 g plain flour

How to:

  1. Mix the yeast, water, oil and 200 grams wholewheat flour in a big bowl until there are no lumps. Use either a fork or a whisk. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the yoghurt, flax seeds, oats, salt and the rest of the wholewheat flour (100 g) to the yeast mixture and mix well.
  3. Add plain flour a little at a time until the dough is firm and not sticky, and knead it on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Cover the bowl (with a dish towel or plastic wrap) and let the dough rise for 1-1,5 hour.
  5. Knead the dough on a floured surface again and shape two breads. Put them in loaf pans, cover and let them rise again for about 40 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C and bake the loaves for 30-40 minutes on the bottom rack. They are done when you knock on them and they sound hollow.

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If you give it a try, please tell me how it went in the comments below! Good luck and happy baking! 🙂

– Guro

Magical soups: carrot soup

I started this series of recipes called magical soups in June when it was winter here in São Paulo, but then I never posted any more recipes other than the broccoli soup. Today I wanted to share a soup that I’ve made countless times because it’s so easy and delicious. It’s a carrot soup, but with a twist: ginger! I love ginger… The soup is also vegan, but I didn’t notice nor think about that until the fifth time I made it, so don’t let that stop you from trying this healthy soup full of great tastes from carrot, ginger, garlic and onion!

You’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • salt
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 kg carrots
  • 1 medium potato
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 1-1,5 liter hot water

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How to:

  1. Start by chopping the onion, garlic (finely), carrots and potato, and grate the ginger. The bigger you chop the chunks of carrot and potato, the longer the cooking time.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a big sauce pan over medium heat and add the chopped onion. Sprinkle with a little salt (about 2 pinches) and let the onion fry for about 5 minutes.
  3. When the onion is soft put in the garlic and ginger and stir for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots, potato and hot water (if you’re sauce pan isn’t big enough you can add the rest during the pureeing, just make sure you cover the vegetables), and crumble the stock cubes into the sauce pan as well.
  5. Bring to a boil, set the temperature to low, cover and let cook until the carrots and potato are soft. This takes about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the vegetables.
  6. When the vegetables are tender turn off the heat and puree the soup, either with an immersion blender or in a blender. Make sure your blender can handle the heat or wait for the soup to cool a little.
  7. Serve the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and some parsley, and maybe a wholewheat roll on the side?

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I was inspired by this recipe.

I hope you liked the recipe and that you’ll want to try it out!

– Guro

Strawberry protein shake

The other day I wanted to make a strawberry milkshake that I had seen a recipe for online, but I had just gotten home from the gym and a heavy strength workout, so I decided to put some protein powder in it. That was maybe the best idea I ever had because this tastes like strawberry ice cream! I use Optimum Nutrition’s 100% whey with cookies and cream flavor, but I guess that any brand would do and that maybe vanilla flavored protein would work just as good.

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For 1 person you’ll need:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop protein powder (cookies and cream or maybe vanilla)
  • 1,5-2,5 cups milk (depends on how thick you like it)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Mix all the ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

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Have a great Thursday, everyone! Tomorrow is FriYAY 😀

– Guro

Things to fall in love with in São Paulo

In Brazil São Paulo is the big, ugly monster that no one likes. Everyone says that people here only work and don’t have time for anything else. No friends, no family, no life, no love. When paulistanos (people from São Paulo) try to defend themselves they say «Existe amor em São Paulo», which means «Love exists in São Paulo». It’s a hashtag (#existeamoremsp) that’s been used 57 909 times on Instagram at the time of writing this. I want to show you guys a couple of places the this exists for sure.

I think that, at first sight, São Paulo really seems like a huge monster. There are people everywhere, cars everywhere, buildings as far as you can see, so much noise and last, but not least, LINES everywhere! It takes time to get to know the nice places and I also think that you have to give São Paulo time, time to grow on you. You need a special pair of eyes (or mentality, if you like) to see the beauty here. It’s like this quote by Confucius that I used to be obsessed with:

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

So we can say that São Paulo has its particular beauty and here are some places that can help you to find it:

Vila Madalena

This neighbourhood might be my favorite place in São Paulo. It’s packed with lovely cafés, restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries and the whole atmosphere is very relaxed and artsy. This is where you find the artists, the hipsters and the alternative people of the city and I think that’s part of why the atmosphere is so relaxed. I love to go there just to have a coffee and watch people (as in people watching, not stalking, haha!), but it’s also great for going out, visiting the galleries, having great food etc. It actually took me five months to go there for the first time, but after that we’ve been there many times, both because we’ve had many people visiting and because during our first visit there we were introduced to this amazing café called Coffee Lab (obrigada, Edu!). It had a huge line when we went there, so we ended up going somewhere else, but we got curious and we went back some weeks later. I’ll write a post about cool places in Vila Madalena soon, I promise!

Vila Madalena

Avenida Paulista/Paulista Avenue

Although it’s completely different from Vila Madalena it has its own charm. It’s the financial center of São Paulo, of Brazil and of South America, so it’s naturally full of huge and expensive buildings. When you stand there and see all the skyscrapers one after another you will feel very impressed and almost breathless. Especially when you look back down again and see the people living on the street. Avenida Paulista is probably one of the best places to observe the extreme social inequality that Brazil suffers from. On Sundays and other holidays the whole avenue is closed, from Rua da Consolação to Praça Oswaldo Cruz, so that people can go for a walk, work out, ride a bike, go rollerskating, skate etc. There’s also a craft market under the MASP museum on Sundays as far as I know.

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Avenida Paulista

Rua Oscar Freire

This is the most luxurious shopping street of São Paulo, including Brazilian designer’s stores. It’s great to go for a walk and/or window shopping and also for people watching (I love people watching, ok?). I hardly buy anything, but we usually have a coffee at the combined café and book shop called Chez Oscar. They serve real cappuccino (most places here give you Nescafé cappuccino powder with hot water) and their cookies are to die for! My boyfriend says their filter coffee is great too. Now that I’m looking at the map I can see that there are many restaurants, bars and cafés around Oscar Freire, so it’s probably good for any kind of meal you’d like. I have to discover more places there to give you some tips!

The Martinelli building

This was São Paulo’s tallest building for many, many years after it was built in 1929. It’s a little more than a 100 meters tall and you can go up to one of the last floors to have a view over the city for free! How amazing is that? I absolutely love going there because the view is breathtaking on a whole different level than anything else in this city. The fact that the city has 12 million people and the metropolitan area has about 20 is a lot easier to understand up there. The only thing you see is buildings, buildings and buildings until it’s all gone in the horizon. There’s no end to this city and that’s a different kind of beauty you can find here. At least for me it is.

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The view from the Martinelli building

Parks

Even though São Paulo seems like a grey giant at first sight it’s the home of many nice parks. The most famous and biggest one is the Ibirapuera park which is about half the size of Central Park in New York. It has various lakes, museums, fountains, cafés etc. and lots of people go there to work out, spend the day with family or friends, record videos, take photos (me, me, me!), ride a bike, go rollerskating and catch pokemons. There’s also a park close to the MASP musem (Parque Trianon) in the Paulista Avenue which is very nice and we also have one close to our apartment which is called Parque da Aclimação. These are only some of the many, many parks around the city.

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Parque Ibirapuera

Multiculturalism

Until now I’ve only talked about very physical things that I find beautiful here in São Paulo. Some parts of this beauty are more abstract and subjective than others, but isn’t that what beauty should be? That said, another beautiful thing here in São Paulo is the multiculturalism. There are lots of immigrants from different parts of the world and the biggest groups are Japanese, Italians and Lebanese. They even have their own neighbourhoods! Liberdade is the Asian neighbourhood where you can have autentic food from China, Japan, Corea etc. and they have stores with Asian food, sweets, decoration, among other things. I love how we can experience so many different cultures here and how they exist side by side. Japanese food is quite different for me after almost ten months in the city with the biggest Japanese population outside Japan…

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Multiculinarism

I just invented that word. Did you like it? Because of all the immigrants from all the different countries, São Paulo is a melting pot of so many delicious culinary experiences. During these last months I’ve had Thai, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, German, Italian, American, Lebanese, Arabic, Portuguese, Mexican, Australian and Peruvian food, and of course Brazilian food from different regions of the country. It’s impressive how so many cuisines have found their way here, but I’m not complaining, it’s wonderful!

 

I think that’s a good start, my friends. When I get to know even more places to visit, eat, drink and hang out, I’ll make a guide of São Paulo. I hope you enjoyed the post and that some of you might come to São Paulo once. It might seem scary, but it’s not! It’s great!

– Guro