Portuguese food

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

Monday, October 25, 2010

Review of Portuguese Custard Tarts - Pastel de Nata

Thank you to one of my readers for the suggestion of this blog post, I hope you like it.
When I was in my 20's the humble Portuguese tart wasn't really known outside the Portuguese community,  & the only place you could buy them was at the Portuguese bakeries in Petersham, where they cost 0.60c each, yes you heard me right they cost less than a dollar. I can't believe the cost of them these days $3 each.Ok enough winging, I sound like one of those old people talking about the good old days when things where so cheap.
Now the Portuguese tart is everywhere, & most I have to say aren't very good. The only place I'll buy them at is in Petershem, Sydney.

There are 3 Portuguese bakerie shops in Petersham, they all offer coffee & a variation of Portuguese & Australian sweets.
I had the help of my husband & sister in law who where both taste testers & gave me their opinion on each tart.

The first place is Honeymoon, we all agreed the custard tarts here where nice.
The pastry was crispy, the custard was nice, not too sweet & not bland.
I know it may seem strange to say you don't want a sweet tart, but if they are too sweet the flavour of the custard can be spoilt. What your looking for is a tart that has just the right balance.
Price was $1.70 each

Honeymoon Patisserie
45 New Canterbury Rd, Petersham
02 9564 2389

The 2nd patisserie was La Patisserie.
The tarts here I found to be not very good.
The pastry we all found to be stale & rubbery, not very pleasant to eat.
The custard was too sweet & floury, which made the custard thick & dense.

Price: $2 each

La Patisserie
45 New Canterbury Rd, Petersham
02 9569 1107

The 3rd was Sweet Belem.
The pasrty on these tarts were the crispiest & the flakiest out of all of the tarts we tried.
The custard was very nice, & was just right in sweetness. It  was velvety, creamy & soft, not too thich & not runny.
The tarts here come with cinnamon which I really like. They are also very similar to the tarts you can get in the Belem distict of Portugal.
They are the most expensive out of the 3, but also different to what is out there.
Price:$3 each

Sweet Belem
35B New Canterbury Rd, Petersham
02 9572 6685

Overall I found Sweet Belem's tart to be the best, their pastry was the best, very very crispy. I don't think there is any where in Sydney that has the cripiest pastry.At $3 ea they are the most expensive out of the 3, but when you compare what's to out there, these are worth it. Most cafe's aroundSydney sell them at $3 & aren't as good.

My second pick is Honeymoon
The pastry was nice & the custard was great as well. At $1.70 they are probably the cheapest tarts in Sydney, & well worth it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pork with Clams,potatoes & coriander - Porco a Alentejana

As you all know after a very long illness, I am slowly coming out of it, for the first time in over a year I entertained, something I love doing.
Friends were invited over, the special plates come out & the Portuguese food was on show.
The dish I made was my friends favorite dish as well as mine, something he orders at every Portuguese restaurant.

Porco à Alentejana is one of the most traditional and popular pork dishes of Portuguese cuisine. It is typical from the Alentejo region, in Portugal, hence the word Alentejana (from Alentejo) in its name. It is a combination of pork and clams with fried potatoes and coriander.

Serves  4 - 6

  • 1 kg pork shoulder or loin, cut into cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves cut into slivers
  • 2 tab massa de pimenta ( capsicum paste )
  • 1 tab sweet paprika 
  • 1 tea chili paste (optional)
  • 500ml dry white wine
  • 1 tab salt
  • 1 tea white pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1300 kg diced potato
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1 kg clams
  • 1 bunch coriander,chopped ( leave 1 tab for decoration)
  • deep frying oil

1. Cut the pork shoulder into cubes. In a bowl add the garlic, capsicum paste, salt, bay leaves,paprika, chili paste  & combine thoroughly, then add the white wine & leave to marinate a minimum 2 hours or over night.

2. Once the meat has marinated, drain the meat in a colander, keeping a bowl under neath so 
the liquid is reserved.

3. Fry the potatoes in clean hot oil. Fry the potatoes in batches. Leave the potatoes to the side, until your ready to finish them off.


4. In a fry pan heat a bit of oil. Once the oil is hot add the pork in batches, adding the garlic, & fry for 3 min, stirring the pork, half way through add a bit of the reserved liquid allowing it to reduce for 3 min.
Remove the pork from the pan & set it aside in a bowl.
Then repeat the process until all the pork  is cooked & the liquid is used up.

5. Reheat the deep frying oil & recook the potatoes, until crispy.

6. Add all the pork back into the pan, & on high heat add the clams, tossing them threw the meat.
Once the clams are opened add the coriander & half the the potatoes, tossing it all together.Taste for seasoning, add extra salt if it needs it.

7. Place the dish into a large serving platter & add the rest of the crispy potatoes on top, sprinkle a bit of extra coriander on top & serve.

Serve with a garden salad.

  • I used the imported capsicum paste, but you can use any, I blogged about capsicum paste last month, so look it up.
  • Fry the meat in batches, leaving it slightly pink so as no to over cook it & dry it out. Once you reheat it, cook it a bit longer to cook it through.
  • The reason I recook the potatoes is so that they crisp up & don't go soggy. It's called blanching.
  • Any clams that don't open throw them out & don't eat them.
  • Fry the meat in small batches otherwise the meat will stew & become tough.