Portuguese food

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

Monday, March 29, 2010

Oven Roasted Octopus- Polvo no Forno


I wanted to do this dish, because it's one of my absolute favorites.
While I was making this dish my 5 year old nephew asked "Tia (untie) what's for dinner", I replyed octopus, "Yum, I love octopus, it's one of my favorite". It made me smile.
At dinner I turned to my sister in law who was commenting on how this is fast becoming one of her favorites as well , & said this dish will be one of those childhood dishes he will look back on & love.
I am pleased be part of his childhood food memories.

When I was in Portugal, I had an octopus dish in a restaurant that blew me away. The octopus was so tender & full of flavor, so when I got back to Australia I decided to re create the dish, it's slightly different to the dish I had, but it's no less wonderful.
The octopus is really tender & the flavore has a depth.
If you like seafood, then you'll love this dish.

Choose large octopus. I get mine from my local fishmonger, so they are pretty easy to get.


  • 2kg large octopus
  • 2 tab capsicum paste (massa de pimentao)
  • 2 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 fresh or dryed bayleaves
  • 9 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium onions, cut chunky
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, cut stalks & leaves then seperate them
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Serves 4

For this recipe I like to use large sized octopus, the baby ones can be used if you like, but I find the larger ones have more flavor, but it's just a personal prefrance on my part. 
Clean & cut the octopus. Cut the part just below the head, the beak part, discard this piece. Cut the tenticles. I leave the tenticles whole but cut them into two pieces.

In a roasting pan lay all the octopus down, add the olive oil, white wine, bayleaves, coriander stalks, 1 onion, 4 garlic cloves, capsicum paste, salt, water, cover the pan with foil & bake at 180 degrees for 50 min.
After this time take out the pan, remove the foil & add the rest of the onions & garlic & increase the heat to 200 degrees, cook for a further 40 minutes.
You want the octopus soft & tender & full of juice.

Add the chopped coriander on top as your about to serve.
I served boiled potatoes sprinkled with coriander, with this dish & a garden salad.

  •  It may seem like a lot of liquid but a lot of it will evaporate during the cooking time.
  • If the liquid evaporates too quickly add more water & some wine.
  • If you dont like coriander substitute it for parsley


Monday, March 22, 2010

Sweet Ricotta Fritters - Filhos

I sometimes adjust recipes to suit my personal taste & availability of ingredients.
I like simple quick recipes, when I cook at home.
I've adjusted this recipe from how they are traditionally made, but not to worry they look like the traditional ones.
That's what I love about cooking, you can change something to suit yourself & put your own personal stamp on it & make it your own.

These doughnut like dumplings are traditionally made with cooked mashed pumpkin.
I like the pumpkin version but sometimes I want to make a quick sweet if someone drops by unexpectedly & don't have time to wait for the pumpkin to cook.
It's much easier to grab some ricotta, which I keep in the fridge on a regular basis.
The ricotta does exactly what the pumpkin would do & that's add moisture making these moist & light.
I know 60 sounds like a lot, you can always 1/2 the recipe. But I warn you, these are addictive.
I have 4 people in my household & these went within 24 hours.

Traditionally these are called filhos & are usually made around Christmas time or for any special
Perfect with a cup of tea


  • 500g smooth ricotta
  • 4 (700g) whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups self raising flour
For the sugar & cinnamon
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 tea ground cinnamon
Makes 60

1. In a bowl put the ricotta & eggs

2. Then add the sugar
3. Whisk the ingredients together

4. Then add the flour to the ricotta mixture

5. This will create a batter like mixture.
Then heat a deep frying pan with fresh oil.

6. The temperature should be at a medium heat, if it's too high they will burn & be raw inside, if it's too low they will absorb the oil & be ruined.
Drop a generous size teaspoon of batter into the oil. Not adding more than 6 at a time.

7. Once the fritters are cooked & have a golden color to them. You can take one out & cut it open to see if they are cooked through.
Then drain them onto a paper towel.
While they are draining repeat the process of frying some more fritters.
Then go back to the fritters that are draining on a paper towel & roll them onto the sugar & cinnamon mixture coating them well.

Note :
  • You can add 1 teaspoon of orange zest to the batter if you like.
  • Use fresh clean oil for best results.
  • You will have a bit of cinnamon sugar left, not to worry you can seal it in an air tight container & keep it for several months.Use it on french toast or cinnamon toast.

These are so moorish you won't be able to stop at just one.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Portuguese Food Fair in Petersham

As you all know I've been ill with Glandular fever symptoms, this has kept me unable to do much in the way of physical activities. One of the reasons I started this blog. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to the Bairro Portugues: Petersham Food & Wine Fair that was held on Sunday, 14th March.
It's a fantastic fair, if you know nothing about Portuguese food, than this is the fair to go too & get yourself acquainted with it.
I know that I'll be able to make it next year.
Simon from Simon Food Favourites went to the fair & has written a post about it.
Check out his site, it's great. This man has such an appreciation for good food.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Baked Fish with tomatoes,capsicum & potatoes - Peixe Assado no Forno

I adore seafood, I guess it goes back to my childhood . Both my parents were born & raised in the Algarve which is in the south of Portugal.
Seafood, is one of this regions main staple. We ate more seafood than meat as my mother was a vegetarian, who ate small amounts of fish.
The most vivid childhood food memories I have was of eating squid in black ink with boiled potatoes, polenta with pipis, grilled sardines, sea snails cooked in a pot with lots of garlic & white wine & baked fish with tomatoes,capsicum & potatoes.
I guess this dish was my families version of a roast dinner, which is so popular here in Australia. Actually I'd never tasted a roast dinner until I was in my 20's , a Greek friend of mine married an Australian so she'd make it most weekends.

I used spanish mackerel cutlets for this dish,although you can use whole snapper,which is what my mother would use, basically you can use any fish except salmon.


2 large onions,cut into round slices
8 garlic cloves,chopped
8 medium potatoes,cut into slices & par boil
1/2 red capsicum
3 tab massa de pimentao (capsicum paste)
1 bunch parsley,chopped
4 fresh bay leaves
2 cups white wine
1/2 cup olive oil
4x150g spanish mackrel
4 tomatoes, sliced
salt to taste

1. Put your potatoes in a pan, add cold water with some salt & put them on the boil . When the potatoes come to the boil,immediately drain them into a colander.You just want them to be slightly cooked, but not cooked all the way.

2. Heat your pan & add your oil. Then fry your onions, when there a bit soft add the garlic,the capsicum & bay leaves. Adding the parsley stalk at this time is also a good idea as it adds flavour
3. Then add the tomatoes mixing gently so they don't break & then add the massa de pimentao(capsicum paste) & fry for 2 minutes on medium heat
4. Add the white wine,salt & bring to the boil.Just bring it to the boil & take it off, you dont want the tomatoes to brake down & cook too much,you want them to keep there shape.
Add Image5. Lay your fish raw on a baking tray, then scatter the potatoes all over the pan on top of the fish & between gaps & then pour the mixture on top. Scatter the parsley on top & a 1/3 cup of olive oil on top for extra moisture & flavour.

6. Bake the fish for 20 - 25 min at 190 degress or till your fish is cooked.
Serve with a green salad

Friday, March 5, 2010

Portuguese Restaurants - Divino Cafe & Restaurant

On a hot late summers day my friends baptised their first child. They decided to have the function at Divino Cafe & Restaurant in Petersham. My friends,my husband & I had gone to this restaurant several months before after we found it by accident. My friends had wanted to take my husband & I out, a thank you, sort of meal.We decided to check out Petersham, the Portuguese district in Sydney & browse around, not really having having a place in mind.
We came across this place, a fairly new place to us.
The first thing I was struck by was the interior, modern Portuguese,light brown furniture,hand painted pictures on the walls.It's a small place seating around 40 people maximum, which I like.
The restaurant was having a function when we asked if we could come in,they warmly greeted us in, & were very attentive even though they had 30 people to attend to. When I say they I really mean the waitress, who I think is one of the owners.

The menu was typically Portuguese,& the prices were reasonable.
Once our food came out it was beautiful & pretty good portions, so good was this place that my friend decided she'd like to have her sons baptism here.

The food we had at the baptism was a selection of dishes brought out on platters & shared.
Usually I hate that because sometimes there isn't enough to go around, but there was so much food at this function that we had to leave some of it behind,which I found so incredibly hard to do but just couldn't eat anymore.
Grilled chorizo
No complaints with this dish, it was cooked perfectly,& still moist.

Grilled Garlic prawns
One of my favorite things in the world

Ameijoas a Bulhao Pato - pipis with coriander,galic & wine

This dish was so gorgeous to eat, it felt like the ocean was in my mouth. Succulent little morsels.I really like the use of coriander it just lifts the dish & adds a richer depth.

Porco a Alentejana -Pork with clams

This dish is a very classic one it's usually on any Portuguese menu. There was plenty of pork even though it looks like there was more potatoes, they were on the bottom with the juice.

Bacalhau a Bras -Dried Cod,onions, potatoes & scrambled egg

I just have to say this is the best bacalhau a bras I've ever tasted. this dish can sometimes be a bit dry but this one was so moist,the right amount of salt, cod & potatoes, perfect.The best I've eaten anywhere.

Espetada- Beef Kebabs
This dish wasn't overly dry as they can sometimes be.By this stage I have to admit I was so full this dish didn't really interest me as much as the others. I heard from the other guests though that it was very nice.

Creme Caramel- Pudim

I love creme caramels there so morish.This is a very typical one it's a bit heavier than the classical french one with a bit of a crust on top.
There were other selections of desserts chocolate mousse, & rice pudding which I didn't have a chance to get a photo of, as the other guests dug into them so fast, a good sign I guess.

Divino Restaurant
Address Shop 3, 98 Audley St,
Petersham, NSW 2049
Phone (02) 9560 9924

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