Portuguese food

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

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chocolate Mousse - Mousse de Chocolate

I love Chocolate Mousse, if it's on a menu somewhere I just can't pass it up. I feel like a kid,in a candy shop, it's just so moorish. When travelling around Portugal it was one dessert that was on nearly 90% of menus.
Their was the good the bad & the ugly. On one occasion the ugly reared up it's head in a Lisbon tavern, when I ordered the dessert & found it to be soft & mushy with a runny liquid on the base, it tasted awful, so I just left it. When the waiter enquired why I hadn't eaten it, I explained why, & suggested that it was probably too old & probably had spoilt. He told me it was made from a packet & so wouldn't spoil so quickly. I was dumbfounded, I felt I had been so naive, to expect a restaurant to make their own. I learnt that I had to ask for caseiro (home made) if I wanted it fresh.
I can't imagine who would go to a restaurant & when presented with the choice of home made or packet would choose a packet dessert.
The Portuguese tend to make theirs a bit more denser than the french who make it more light & airy.

Serves 6
  • 400g dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 50ml Cointreau,  rum or 1 tab coffee granules
  • 2 cups cream

  1. Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl & set over simmering water (don't allow the bowl to touch the water). Stir the chocolate as it begins to melt, not allowing the chocolate to over heat. Add any liquid at this stage. Once melted set aside.

    2. Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in one bowl & the whites in another.
        Whisk the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl till peaks form, then set aside.

      3. In another bowl whisk  the cream till soft peaks form. Set aside.

    4. Stir the yolks into the melted chocolate the add a large spoonful of the egg whites, folding it in gently. Then add half of the egg whites & fold into the chocolate mixture, once incorporated add all the egg whites folding them in.

    5. Once all the egg whites have been incorporated add the cream a spoonful at a time folding the cream into the mixture gently so as not to remove the air.
Once all the cream has been added transfer to your serving dish.

  • I allowed the mix to set then transferred it to a piping bag & them piped the mix out onto my serving dish. The mix will not pipe effectively just after being made. 
  • Make sure the water bath is on a simmer & not on a rapid boil, otherwise the intense heat will burn the chocolate.
  • Soft peaks mean, if you pick it up it holds a shape but not for too long. A runny egg white & cream will result in a runny mousse. If the peaks are too stiff then you have a hard mousse.



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Braised Calamari - Polvo guisado

I'm very late with my post, I was hoping to have put this up a week ago, I have no excuse really, just poor time management.
As you can see from my blog, I make a lot of seafood, it's the type of food that I grew up with & the type of food I love.
This dish is something I threw together with ingredients I had in the fridge.
You can serve this dish with boiled potatoes, or rice pilaf ( made with onions, garlic)
I'm sorry about the quality of the photos,every hot dish I make is always made for dinner & served up immediately so I'm always scrambling to take a quick photo before it goes cold, so I never have time to style the dish.
Sometimes I put the dish down on the table & won't let anyone touch it till I've got  the right photo, this day wasn't one of them.
It's probably the 3rd time I've included a recipe with capsicum paste so I promise I'll include a post about it very very soon. 

  • 1.5 kg squid
  • 100ml olive oil 
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tab red capsicum paste
  • ink sac
  • 1 tab parsley, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1 tab red capsicum paste
  • 2 tab chili sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tea paprika sweet
  • 2 tea salt

  1. Holding the body firmly, grasp the head and pull gently, twisting if necessary, to pull the head away from the body without breaking the ink sac. The internal body and tentacles will come with it.
  2. Cut the tentacles from the head just below the eyes. 
  3. Set aside the the tentacles to use (they're edible and tasty).Keep the ink sack, if desired.
  4. At the top of the body, there is a clear piece of cartilage. Pull it out and discard.
  5. If the squid has an outer spotted membrane-type skin, pull it off and discard if you like, I don't.
  6. Under cold water, wash the tube carefully, inside and out, to get rid of any sand or other remaining tissues, and wash the tentacles carefully as well, making sure you don't break the tube.
  7. Cut the squid into 2 cm tubes, keeping the wings. 

8. Once the squid has been cut, place the squid in a bowl & marinate with the marinate ingredients for at least 2 hours.

9.  Drain the squid in a colander keeping the marinate.

10.  On a high heat, heat the fry pan, add the oil then add small batches of the squid, fry for 2 min, tossing the squid with a spoon,
Once cooked reserve the squid in a bowl & set aside in a warm place till the rest is cooked.

11.  Clean the pan with a paper towel & continue the process of frying the squid or wash the pan if it's to dirty.

12.  Once all the squid is cooked add a bit more oil (100ml) fry the garlic, add the capsicum paste fry for 1 min, add the ink sac if you like, then add the marinate & reduce for 2 min. 
Add the squid tossing it in the sauce, add the chopped parsley to finish.

  • If the ink sac breaks, just rinse the squid under cold running water to clear away 
  • Cook the squid on high heat,  it must be fast & quick 
  • If you over cook the squid it will become tough & rubbery


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mini Cupcakes

It's been a very hectic few weeks, firstly we are renovating our house, we moved our bedroom furniture out & were sleeping in the living room. Secondly during the renovations, we planned my nephews 6th birthday party. My husband had to quickly finish the area he was renovating for the party, & so we ( myself, husband & sister in law) worked frantically to get it all cleaned up.

My nephew & sister in law moved back to Australia in November after living in the UK for the past 5 1/2 years, it's been a difficult time for my nephew who missed England & all his friends & so we thought a party would help,  he wanted a Ben 10 theme,colors where green & black, as many boys his age like Ben 10.

The party went well, more kids showed up than we'd thought would, & so the house was full of screaming kids, jumping & climbing everything.
I made these mini cup cakes as I know kids will generally eat the icing & take a bite of the cake & leave the rest.
I had a butter cream recipe, but after seeing Masterchef ( a cooking programme) I decided to use the recipe they had shown on the show, as it looked great.

I made chicken breast nuggets, home made sausage rolls, home made pizza, hot dogs made with mini beef sausages, jelly with snakes, chocolate mousse, creme caramel, mini cupcakes & few other dishes.

It's been a weird year, firstly I contracted glandular fever 11 months ago, a few days after my 40th birthday, a time that left me unable to work or leave the house for months, one of the reasons I decided to start this blog.
During this time my sister in law & nephew arrived & my life has changed, for the better.
I have a little boy that I treat as my own & he is such a joy to have around, he loves food & eats everything I cook. I love cooking for him & teaching him about food.
I was so happy that I'm 70 percent recovered & was able to give him the party he wanted & deserved.

 The party had a green & black theme,  as half the children were girls, I decided to make pink one's for them.

Cute little cupcakes

Mini Cupcakes
  • 115g butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 cup milk
Vanilla Butter cream
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tea vanilla essence
  • 500g unsalted butter, softened
1. In an electric mixer or a hand held mixer, cream the butter & sugar together, till fluffy & a pale creamy colour, this may take 5 minutes.

2. Add the eggs to the butter 1 at a time, making sure each egg is incorporated to the mix before you add each one.

3. Once all the eggs are incorporated add the vanilla essence & the flour, mixing gently so that the flour does not fly everywhere.

4. Then add the milk mixing till the milk is all mixed in.

5. Line small patty tins with mini cupcakes & pour a small amount into the liners.
Fill only 1/2 the liners with the mix, & bake at 180 degrees for 12- 15 minutes or until they are cooked all the way through.

For the butter cream

1. Moisten the sugar with the water in a saucepan, place on the stove, brushing down the edges with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallisation.

2. Bring the syrup to soft ball stage (121 degrees). Then cool slightly.

3. Whisk the egg yolk in a mixer  until light & fluffy on high speed.

4. Once the sugar cools add it to the yolks in a slow thin stream, whisking continuously until all has been added. Keep whisking on low speed until the mixture cools & then add gradually add the butter a piece at a time till it's all incorporated.

5. Add the vanilla essence

Assembling the cupcakes

1. Divide the butter cream into separate bowls, how many will depend on how many colors you want. Add the food colour to your desired colour.   

2. Fill a piping bag with a star nozzle.

3 Pipe rosette shapes onto cooled cupcakes

     Kids picking up lollies from the pinata

My gorgeous nephew