Portuguese food

The food of Portugal is rich, & has a depth of intensity just like its people.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Clams in a Cataplana

Selection of Clam at the market

Razor Clams
Clam Stew
This dish was made when I was traveling in Portugal. I was visiting the south which is called the Algarve. My family comes from this region.
My mother has an apartment in a town called Loule. Her apartment is a 5 minute walk to a huge fresh food market.This market sells fresh bread, seafood, fruit & vegetables, as well as meat & poultry. But, it's most famous for it's seafood.
I'd wake up earlier than everyone else & stroll down to the market. On this particular day the clams looked fresh so I decided to make one of the Algarves famous dishes, Ameijoas na Cataplana, which means Clams in a Cataplana.
I was also eager to try razor clams as I'd never tried them before as you can't get them in Australia.
As I was traveling I didn't have my Cataplana so I made it in a normal pan.
I'll write a post soon about what a Cataplana is, but it's not really that necessary to have one as my photos show, just a fantastic way to present this dish.
Make sure you soak your clams in fresh water,how long depends on where you got them from.
Most seafood mongers do this for you, but it's best to ask if you need to soak them.

3 large onions,sliced
6 cloves garlic,chopped
1 large red capsicum,diced in large pieces
4 large tomatoes,chopped
1 bunch coriander,chopped
1 chorizo
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
3 tab massa de pimentao (capsicum paste)
2 kg of clams

Saute the onions in olive oil on med to high heat till they start to become soft then add the garlic.
When this mix has a bit of color add the chorizo & stir,then add the capsicum.
Add a bit more oil if the mixture appears a bit dry,then add the stalks of the coriander.Give everything a good stir.Then add the salt, massa de pimentao & cook for 1 min.
Then add the water & allow the mixture to cook for 10 min on a med heat.
Bring the mixture up to the boil & add the clams coating the clams in the mixture.
Immediately cover the clams with a lid & cook for 10 min or till clams are cooked.
When the clams are cooked add the chopped coriander.
Serve with a salad cooked rice or fresh bread.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lisbon Trams

One of my favorite sights, while travelling in Portugal was travelling on the yellow tram.
We have trams in Australia but not in Sydney,so it's not something I'm used to seeing. Lisbon trams are a sight to behold.
These distinctive yellow trams are one of the tourist icons of modern Lisbon, and their size is well suited to the steep hills and narrow streets of the city.
Modern Lisbon has invested in newer trams which for the inhabitants of this city is probably much more comfortable to travel on, then the older style ones you see in these pictures.
From the perspective of a tourist these older style ones have charm, they seem to be from a different era. You imagine seeing men in pinstripped suits & hats, women in pinup dress's wearing gloves & hats, stepping out of them
I'd love the sound of the rumble & the clinking sound of a bell as they went past, letting you know they own this old & beautiful city.

Too sick to blog about food

So I've been away for a while. I guess I should come clean about something.
One of the reasons I started writing this blog was not just because I wanted to share some of my passion for Portuguese food but because I've been unwell.
Several months ago, well actually way back in August 2009, I caught glandular fever & ever since have battled with the symptoms. I become extremely exhausted & sick & so can't even sit in front of a computer at these times. I've been at home ever since & so decided that I'd do a blog about something I love, to overcome a lot of my boredom.
I won't always be able to cook, so, I've devised a plan. Back in 2008 my husband & I took a trip to Portugal after a 12 year absence,we took about 2000 photos because even back then I had plans that I'd share it in a blog one day.
So during the really hard times I'll post about my adventures.
I hope you all enjoy the photos.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Creme Caramel

Creme Caramel (Pudim) is one of Portugals favorite desserts,you'll always find one on a restaurant menu or at a party.
I made this creme caramel for my friends son's 1st birthday party.
The Portuguese call their creme caramels, Pudim.
My version is a bit lighter than what you would find in Portugal,the Portuguese generally have there's a bit heavier.

Creme Caramel Mix
1/2 cup sugar
6 eggs
3 3/4 cup of hot milk
1 tab vanilla essance

Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

In a pot add your sugar & water together & put it on high heat.
Don't touch the caramel with a spoon or fork once it's boiling otherwise the mixture won't turn out,it'll turn into a lumps of watery sugar.
Just allow the mixture to cook swirling it around once in a while.
When it's a deep rich colour take it off the heat & coat a baking pan with the caramel.

For the egg mix, warm your milk up till it's warm.Don't make your milk too hot or it will curdle the egg mixture.
Beat your eggs, sugar & vanilla essance together & then add your milk & whisk together.
Pour the mixture into the pan that's coated with the caramel.
Put the cake pan into a larger baking pan with water cover the mixture & bake at 130 degrees for an hour or till the mixture comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before you turn it out.