Today’s post is about a gluttony we indulged on to gain some strength and block that hunger that surprised us during a beautiful but intense session of cooking and taking pictures. If you follow us on instagram or facebook, you might know that last Saturday we had a mini incuQIna reunion in London and enjoyed a day together cooking and testing recipes for the blog that we then shared at dinner with some friend.
And as often happens with good ideas, the best recipes are surprisingly simple.
Take couple of slices of bread, and toast it in the oven for couple of minutes until golden. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil and finish of with some classy decadence adding some thin slices of quality dark chocolate.
Close your eyes, give a good bite. Enjoy the crunch of the bread, the moist and intense taste of the oil, be surprised by the chocolate, softened a little by the warm bread, and the delicate contrast to the delicate salt. What does it make you think about?
We all know the importance of a complete and healthy diet to be fit and feel well and healthy. So how can we find out if the dish we are cooking is well balanced?
Besides mixing together ingredients with different colours, another way to verify if we are doing well is to make sure that none of the main flavours is missing. According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine, each of the five main flavours (i.e. sweet, hot (spicy), salty, sour and bitter) has an action on specific organs (respectively Spleen, Lung, Kidney, Liver and Heart) and must then be present in each dish in different proportions according to the effect we want to achieve. In other words, a moderate flavour reinforces the organ to which it is directed, while an excessive/ unbalanced flavour can damage it (e.g. a bowl of rice, of sweet flavour, reinforces Spleen; a chocolate croissant, too sweet, damages it).
Anyways no panic: you do not have to necessarily be a TCM freak to apply this theory, and Camilla is just proving it by spontaneously creating this wonderful dish, simply driven by her culinary instinct and following the produce of the season.
As you might have already noticed, we love breakfast. Not only because of its obvious beneficial effects (as our nutritionist Anna already explained here), but also because breakfast food is just the best. While during the week we often stick to a muesli+yogurt or porridge routine, we like to get creative during weekends. Nothing to complicated, nothing too fancy, in under 30’ you can whip up something comforting, that puts a smile on a lazy late morning, helps you recover from a long night drinking and dancing, or that boosts your stamina for an energetic active day out of work!
This easy, quick, heartwarming scones recipe is from our friend Julie. Something in between biscuit-like pastry and a quick bread, they pop out of your oven warm and fragrant, ready to be cut in half and to welcome some orange marmalade and, if you feel decadent, a bit of butter. A fruit juice and a coffee on the side, and here you have a perfect Saturday breakfast. Enjoy your week end.
With this third (and last) ritual we bring some color and vitality to our mornings, because there is no better way to start your day than with a good breakfast. After a good hydration and some movement, we can now relax a bit and enjoy what should be the most important meal of our day, which too often we forget or skip with important consequences on our mood and our body.
Fueling up with sugar and complex carbohydrates in the morning is a smart way to lift the levels of insulin and promote the circadian rhythm of cortisol, a hormone produced by the surrenal glands that has a natural peak around 8-9 am. In periods in which we are particularly stressed, have a messy routine and skip breakfast, this cycle is lost as stress increases the activity of our surrenal glands. These will start to produce cortisol continuously with consequences on the regulation of all hormones and that, in the long term, will lead to increase of body fat.
Now that the ritual #1 has been consolidated in our morning routine, and we are all enjoying its benefits, we are ready to proceed to the next step to fight morning moodiness and fatigue.
You will need:
some free space;
a little bit of patience.
Yes: this second step to boost to your mornings requires a small physical effort. The “Five Tibetans rites” are five simple exercises of the ancient Tibetan tradition that move the energy of all the chakras providing an immediate feeling of warmth and giving strength. The chakras (or “vortices”) are the seven energy centers of our body, electric fields centred on endocrine glands that rotate at high speed when the body is healthy and in good harmony.
And here it is, spring has finally arrived! After this, grey long winter, with foggy or cold and dark days, please welcome its majesty, the season of love.
Last year we welcome spring following a wonderful detox program, perfect to purify the body and to reinforce the spirit. This year we want to celebrate it sharing with you our series of ultra-tested morning rituals that will make your mornings shine and your days bright.
As we know, despite the better weather and the mildest temperatures, in these days we can often feel a little bit more tired, especially early in the morning, and sometimes in a inexplicable bad mood. We are going to show you how to face this seasonal change in a very easy way, as easy as a one, two three! Because three are the simple morning steps that will make you wave good-bye to those signs of fatigue and get the best out of what spring has to offer.
And most of all, we wish this season will be generous with all of you!
Ritual #1: Lemon water
The first step is as easy as drinking a glass of water…with lemon!
Suddenly, a couple of days ago, it hit us: February 25th was round the corner, it would have been exactly two years since our first post and we had not decided yet on which cake putting the candles on? What kind of food-bloggers are we?
Fortunately in these cases our Camilla (aka Sora Lella) always has something sweet hidden up her sleeves: chocolate mousse. Even just pronouncing this name has a powerful calming effect, chocolate mousse, a culinary mantra. This version is incredibly good, and chocolate-y. Inspired by the recipe of the talented Rachel Khoo, is the perfect dessert to surprise your guests after a dinner. Not so quick to prepare, but definitely worth cleaning all those bowls!
Cleared up the tension that celebrations bring, and now that this delicious dessert lays on the table, we can take a deep breath, slightly close our eyes and blow out the candles.
The second year of incuQIna has flown away, just like that, in one breath, light as the wind yet dense and sometimes hard. This is the paradox of time: the quicker and the lighter it flows, the more dense of events and “things”. Speed and density in our lives are directly proportional and if now we are reasonably tired, at the same time we feel an enormous sense of gratitude for everything that happened to us during this weird year.
After almost two years of incuQIna we think you know us enough to understand that, despite of our Italian origins, we love to bring to the table also flavours from all over the world. And so today our Anna brings you to the far away Russia. She has many friends coming from this great and wonderful land, and over the years she developed a proper obsession for buckwheat (find out why here!).
And here you go: Blini. Some kind of crepes-pancakes made with buckwheat flour, traditionally prepared at the end of winter for the week of Maslenitsa (the eight week before the Ortodox Easter). We served them with their classic filling: Smoked salmon, Chives and fresh cheese. As it happens for crepes, also your first blini will look a bit ugly (but always good). So don’t worry, keep them aside (eat them!) a nd keep up with the production! Once they cooled down, you can fill them, roll them, cut them as if they were small ‘makis’ and serve them as a rich, unusual entree. Just the way we like it!
Today we want to share with you yet another version of our favorite breakfast: porridge! We started with a warming winter version, with oat and walnuts. We then tasted it in its springtime version, with buckwheat and dried apricots, and here we go with an autumn twist. This recipe is especially dedicated to give us new energy and, yes, make us look better. We choose this colorful combinations of ingredients for a proper morning beauty routine. Now more then ever we have forgotten about that summer glowing, we need to eat well and take special care of ourself. Don’t worry if you feel a bit blue in these times: it’s normal. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine this is the season associated to Sadness, but we should try to avoid being so melancholic. Yes, but how?
Halloween is coming and we want to celebrate it with a lovely pumpkin and ginger soup, one of our favorite autumn recipes and a big old classic of this golden season.
If you have already tried it, you will certainly know this is a very simple dish and real comfort food. What you probably don’t know it is that it makes lots of sense also for the Traditional Chinese Medicine.