Portuguese food

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

Friday, June 25, 2010

Portuguese Function

As I was winding down my career as a chef to pursue other interests, I took a job in a beautiful little cafe in Glebe. The cafe is Yuga Cafe & Gallery, a cafe that combines art & food, featuring art work by different artists every month.
The owners are Ben Crisafulli & Setsuko Yanagisawa who both have a passion for good food. 

The cafe combines a floral service & has beautiful flowers in an area of the cafe that stimulates the senses visually & provides a wonderful perfume, check out Setsuko's designs here. It is also a floral design school run by Setsuko, teaching some of the skills she has gained over the years.

The cafe is opened 7 days a week & features a variety of Italian inspired food with a hint of Japanese flair.
The cafe set up the Sapore Club to feature the best of what the world has to offer. Since the club was set up, some of the functions that have been featured in recent years is Tuscan, Venice, Japanese, & Portuguese evening to just name a few.

Several years ago, I decided to do a Portuguese evening to feature the food of my childhood, to a packed group of 45 people (which is about the amount of people the club can fit into the cafe).
At that time, I'd wanted to show case the best of what Portuguese cuisine has to offer & to show that it's more than just burgers(which in Portugal doesn't exist) & custard tarts.
The food came out on large plates & were shared.


    Grilled Sardines with garlic, parsley & olive oil dressing

 Again I featured the best of what Portugal has to offer.Sardines are so Portuguese.
 These were grilled & served with a garlic & parsley dressing, & is very potent.

Spinach & Potato Soup ( Caldo Verde)

This Soup is made with potato & Spinach, served with slices of chorizo
This is a soup from the northern region, it's a hearty & robust type of soup. In Portugal it's made with kale,  in Australia you can use silver beet or swiss chard.

      Codfish Cakes ( Pasteis de Bacalhau)  
I've made these on this blog before, it's one of the most famous Portuguese starters
Dried codfish with potato, very simple & delicious.



       Squid Stew with potatoes, garlic, white wine (Caldeirada de Lulas)
This dish comes from the Algarve region, a dish that was made on a very regular basis in my  home
as a child. It's simple to make, the fresh ingredients are really the highlight

     Pipis with Chorizo & coriander

This dish has a wonderful flavour of garlic, chorizo & an  earthy flavour of coriander. The Portuguese   are masters at pairing meat  & seafood together.

      Chicken Pieces with Piri Piri

In this dish chicken thigh pieces where marinated over night in piri piri sauce & then pan fried


      Roast Capsicum & Tomato Salad
This salad is a regional dish from the Algarve region, usually served at BBQ's as the capsicum & tomato is put on the BBQ.  The skin is peeled on both & served with a olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, Spanish onion & parsley dressing.

      Custard Tart & Chocolate Mousse
 This is the dish that many people know, custard tarts, these were bought at a pastry in Petersham, the  Portuguese suburb in Sydney.
The chocolate mousse was made by me.

      Table setting

Yuga Cafe & Gallery
172 St Johns Rd
Glebe NSW 2037
(02) 9692 8604




Friday, June 18, 2010

Berlotti Bean Soup - Sopa de Feijao

I've discovered soup in the last several years. I love chunky hearty soups, an all in one meal.
Soup wasn't my favorite meal as a child actually I hated it.
This soup is a favorite in many Portuguese house holds.
With the weather cool outside it's something that I make at least once a week.
Soup is one of those dishes that you can basically use any vegetables you have in your fridge.
The quantity for this soup is pretty large it feeds 6-8 people, but that's how I make my soups, in large batches so that I can have extra in the fridge during the week or it can be frozen.

  • 375g dry borlotti beans
  • 250ml olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 carrots, diced small
  • 1/4 cabbage savoy, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato medium, diced
  • 14 cups water
  • 1 cup cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 cup pumpkin, diced 2cm dice
  • 1/2 cup green beans, cut into 2cm  pieces
  • 1 chorizo whole, skin removed
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1 bunch thyme leaves
  • 380g speck or bacon bones
  • 1x 400g tomatoes tinned, chopped
  • 4 tab parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
1. Place the borlotti beans in a large bowl & cover completely with water, cover them with cling film & leave to soak 8-10 hours or over night.

2. Drain the soaked beans & place them in a separate pot covered with water & cook on high heat for 40 minutes. Once cooked drain & refresh in cold water. DO NOT ADD ANY SALT OR THE BEANS WON'T COOK.

3. In a deep pot saute the onions & garlic, with oil on medium heat, till soft, then add the carrots, sweet potato & cook for 1 minute. 

4. Then add the chorizo, speck, bay leaves, tomatoes, thyme, water & cook for 1 1/2 hour on medium to low heat.

5. Then add the beans into the pot & cook a further 1 hour.

6. After the hour remove the chorizo, speck,bay leaves (discard these) & cut the meat into pieces, discarding any fatty bits if you like. 

7. With a hand blender pulse the soup for 15 seconds, this thickens the soup, don't over pulse, you still want chunky bits.

8. Return the chorizo, speck & the rest of the vegetables,  & cook a further 30 min on low heat stirring the soup once in a while.
At this stage you can add salt & pepper.

You may need to add extra water midway through out cooking so you have a good amount of liquid, without it being watery.  

Finish off by adding chopped parsley & olive oil (optional). 

  • Use any type of vegetables you like
  • You don't have to pulverize the soup I just find that it adds a texture I like
  • You can use canned borlotti beans instead
  • You can replace bacon bones for speck
  • When cooking any type of dried legumes add the salt only after it's cooked otherwise the skin hardens & they'll never soften & cook.
  • If you like you can substitute sweet potato with white potato

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pipis in Wine & Coriander - Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato

My parents came from the Algarve in Portugal, an area synonymous with beaches, sun & seafood.
Seafood played a huge roll in our family usually eaten fresh & simply.

My grandfather was a fisherman who sold his catch at  the local market in the town, Loule, where he  had a small stall. So my dad new lots about seafood, a fisherman in his own right.
When he came to live in Australia he headed for the sea,with a small boat he bought, to catch a lot of the food we ate, pipis caught in Woolongong, shark, snapper & yellow tail , at Kurnell.
I remember being taken to Watsons Bay with my brother & sisters & while my dad was out on his small boat with a friend, we were on the sand playing, it must have been 4am. We loved it, the beach at this time was beautiful, so quiet & still, it felt magical.

This is a dish that's eaten all over Portugal, you'll find it on every Algarve menu & a dish I grew up with.
Whenever I see Pipis I quickly snap them up. This is one of my favorite ways to eat them.

When buying pipis (clams) make sure they are closed or close when you tap them on the shell, if they remain open then they are dead & not very fresh. My mum refuses to eat any that are dead, they can still be eaten but if you want quality then fresh is best. If they are dead than you won't know how long they've been dead.
Cook them that day,  & store  them in the warmest part of your refrigerator the crisper.
Ask your fishmonger if they've been purged of sand. If not than soak them in sea water overnight.

Serves 4 

  • 1.5 kg pipis
  • 10 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • 300ml white wine
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped, separate stalk & leaves 
  • 4 tea salt
  • pepper to taste

1. In a saucepan heat the oil than quickly add the garlic, coriander leaves & quickly stir.
You want it toasted slightly, not burned.

2.Then add the pipis, wine, salt & cover. Cook 2 min. Then remove the lid & add the coriander leaves.

Serve with bread.

  • The Algarve people use coriander with there seafood, you can use parsley if you like
  • Frying the stalk of a herb releases flavour
  • Discard any pipis that haven't opened they are not any good


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Poached Eggs with Roast Potatoe,capsicum,chorizo & coriander

  Eggs, are so versatile, don't you think. You can poach, fry, scramble them. They can be made savory or sweet.
They are what I call, fast food, the original quick meal & so much better for you.
This is the type of food I love,especially for weekend brunch. On this particular day I made this dish for dinner.
I put this dish on the menu at the last cafe I worked at, before I left professional cooking.I'd label this dish as modern Portuguese, it has all the ingredients the Portuguese love, chorizo, potatoes, coriander & eggs.

  • 6 medium potatoes, skin on
  • 2 Spanish onions,chopped chunky
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 chorizo, sliced
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 2 capsicum, cut into chunks
  • 2 tea paprika
  • 2 tea mixed herbs, dried or fresh
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 200ml olive oil
1. Cut all the ingredients, separating each item into bowls. 

2. Place the potatoes in a baking dish & sprinkle with 1 tea paprika, 1 tea herbs, salt & pepper,coriander stalks & coat the potatoes with 100ml olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20 min at 180 degrees, shaking the pan once in a while.

3. In a bowl add the rest of the ingredients, as well as the rest of the spices, herbs & oil.

4. Add the ingredients to the potatoes & bake till a further 20min.

5. Once cooked add the coriander leaves.

6. Leave in a warm place while you poach the eggs.

Poached Eggs
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • 4 cups water
  • 50ml white vinegar
1. In a deep saucepan add the water & vinegar & then bring the water to a boil, once boiling turn down the heat & simmer.

2. Crack your eggs into the water & cook for 1 1/2 min, your eggs will be soft if you want it harder then cook a further 1 min.  

3. Place the potato & chorizo mix on a plate & then top your egg on top.