fava tonka

February’s pleasures

Okay, let’s try something new: I want to share the things I discovered this week. Because sharing music, podcasts, books, restaurants and recipes, is fun! I have less and less patience to scroll up and down the cultural libraries actively, because that’s what we are doing for already three years now: figuring things out and exploring. We still have to figure out our health insurance here, quite soon actually and I am already stressing out about it!

I am quite sure your life is as ‘complicated’ as mine so let me just start with sharing what I found/stole and tried out!

Restaurant

Fava Tonka is a new vegetarian restaurant in Porto.   There are still not many options for vegetarians, especially if you want to dine out. On most of the menus, we get one choice, and most of the time the vegetarian option is not available… ‘Aah desculpe mas, blablabla.’ Davy and I became professional ‘side dishers‘. Which is a pity because we love to have dinner and pay for it. Not so, for a bowl of roasted veggies accompanied with a bowl of fries.

But Fava Tonka is the beginning of a new era because everything is correct: respect for the ingredients, excellent service, balanced dishes and a friendly atmosphere. The food is seasonal, and you can share your plates if you want. And! It’s open during the evening! These kind of vegetarian restaurants are even hard to find in Belgium. So if you come to Porto, book a table here and take me with you!

Recipes

Okay, don’t expect culinary, unique dishes here… Rather seasonings to give your plate that extra punch.

Satay sauce

I gave a dinner party some weeks ago and loved this simple sauce! It’s good to put in a budda bowl, as a marinade for tofu, or just with roasted veggies. Two minutes of work and your guests will wonder what you have done.

Mix all ingredients and taste:

– 5cm of ginger
– 1 clove of garlic
– 1 red chilli
– 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander
– 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
– zest of 2 limes
– 3 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter (i prefer 2 table spoons)

I never added salt or pepper actually but when I use it as a marinade I add oil, and sometimes I add lime juice.  In the zero waste shop in Porto, you can make your proper peanut butter, and it tastes incredible! The recipe is from Jamie Oliver, and he used it for chicken skewers I think. If you don’t like the colour of the sauce, you can always add turmeric, but I am not sure if that’ll help. It looks like baby shit,… Unless your name is Jamie ;-)!

Roasted veggies are so good & easy! We often get pumpkin from friends and neighbours, but I find it a hard product to get some flavour in. While Davy was abroad, I finally found this cheesy roasted pumpkin recipe:

In a mixing bowl :
* 4 cloves of garlic
* 100 gram parmesan
* 2 tablespoons of thyme
* 4 tablespoons of olive oil
* Salt ‘n’ peppa

Add the pumpkin slices or cubes and cover them well with the oily cheese mixture. Put the oven at 180° and roast for 25 minutes. Done!

Roasts, always good the day after in a Buddha Bowl

Books

I am reading a lot the last months but unfortunately only Flemish and Dutch books. Around Christmas though, I read Reservoir 13 from Jon McGregor and loved it because, well it describes life in a village. Each chapter is one year, and in the first chapter, a girl goes missing. In the meantime, life goes on; the season’s change, women give birth, people make mistakes, grow older, and that’s it. I loved this book.  And if you like this observation style, you’ll probably love it too.

My year of rest and relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh is something completely different but a good read also. The main character is a young, beautiful woman from New York with a cool job in an art gallery and dating a Wall Street boyfriend (and asshole). She resents everything, wants to grieve and decides to spend one year on a cocktail of all kinds of drugs & medicines. Locked up in her apartment she sleeps most of her time helped by an artist who films everything. It’s the year 2000 so yes, 9/11 is quite inevitable and makes you think about the zombie state of mind from the narrator.  Funny, dark, easy to read.

Podcasts

Only a couple of months ago, I had no idea how podcasts worked. As usual, I thought it was something very complicated to figure out, but it’s not. And now I am hooked. I love to go to bed with a podcast (started with Heavyweight from Jonatan Goldstein) or just put on my headphones when I am not in the mood to talk. A couple of weeks ago-when Davy was in Belgium, I cleaned my oven for two hours just to hear a True Crime Mystery being solved, lol!

Esther Perel is an excellent podcast. To everybody who understands shit about love & relationships: Hear her out! This eloquent lady grew up in Antwerp, but her parents are Polish Holocaust survivors. On her podcast, we can hear sessions of couples (after cheating, abuse, transgender,…)  finding each other again, under her supervision. She explains so well where things go South in a relationship, and she has a good sense of humour. Like most Slavic people, she says what she thinks. Love it.

But the podcast I enjoyed most is On Being with Krista Tippett. I was listening to her interview with the late Mary Oliver who died in January and won a Pulitzer (and many more prices) with her poetry. It’s a rare interview, but Mary Oliver is very open and giving. Even if you don’t like poetry, it’s worth listening. She is a tough one, knows all about life, grew up in poverty, spent most of her time in the forest, and started observing nature, writing notes while walking. Poetry saved her. You can learn a lot from observing the trees and the water. About poetry she says this:  ‘People can remember a poem more easily than a book, have the feeling that they own it. Maybe like, even a prayer. And that’s very important. Because then, it belongs to you,’ In another interview (many years ago) I heard György Konrad, a Holocaust survivor and author, say the same (I paraphrase): ‘When they steal everything from you, even your clothes, and they put you in a cell, you will still have the poems you know by heart, the music you’ve played so many times, and even the books you read. It is essential to know things by heart because they become your only weapons.’

I use the Stitcher app to listen to podcasts. You can save the episodes and listen offline to them, which I do while walking around in Porto or commuting by train.

Next, music!

Deleted and added some (old & new) songs on the Playlists:

Afeto- Maya Andrade
Ain’t no shame- Anthony Hamilton
Di mi nombre- Rosalía
Elusive- Blackwave
Gonna Love Me- Teyana Taylor
Barbie Dreams- Nicki Minaj
Make Me Feel- Janelle Monae
Ain’t nothing Changed- Loye Carner
Running up that Hill- Chromatics
My Morphine- Hardkandy
Nightshift- Commodores
Outstanding- The Gap Band
Long Train- Jo Manji
Love to Angie- Red Astaire
Come on to me- Paul McCartney
I’m on fire-Bruce Springsteen
The whispering wind- Moby

Series

Hmm, I am thinking about Sex Education. Gillian Anderson is a great actress and she plays very well here. Despite the fact I am tired of series that enroll in and around High School, I really enjoyed it and laughed a lot with a sixteen-year-old nerdy guy that- to impress a girl- starts to give sex therapy at school. ‘It’s my vagina!’ is a quote from an episode that my good friend Lou repeated so well while we were drinking a beer in a Belgian pub, haha! Just watch it. There is only one season (so far).

I prefer mini series so another one I enjoyed is Wanderlust about a couple that decides to go for an open relationship. Again with a good actress, Toni Collette. The series has a good soundtrack so I Shazamed a couple of times; oh yes Netflix, I also saw all the nice clothes and interior decoration but no I am decluttering, I am not taking the bait, sorry!

YouTube shizzle:

  • Planning today & long term goals:

I have been bullet journalling since February. It’s a kind of agenda with a creative diary that you design yourself according to your needs, lists, goals, tasks, friendly reminders, habit trackers and so on. It helps me a lot to keep on being inspired and to set a daily intention.
Especially, living in the Portuguese countryside, the ‘Bujo’ is a very helpful tool to kick my own ass. Created by a single man and used & modified by thousands of women… There’s a whole industry behind it. Of course. Check more on YouTube.

  • Esther Perel:

In Ghent

Café De roos. A nice bar where you can have traditional Daily Specials, read a book, spend some time hanging out. Citizen’s Centers, they still exist!

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