Portuguese food

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

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sardines Panfried with Tomato & Capsicum Rice

If there is one food that reminds me  of Portugal, it's sardines. Sardines, bring back so many memories of my childhood. The distinct smell wafting in the air as they were barbecuing outside or pan fried & served with a salad of grilled capsicum & tomato in summer & served with tomato rice in the colder months.
The smell of sardines cooking, take me back to our terrace house in Surry Hills sitting around our table eating these small pilchards. I'd enjoy eating these but it wasn't long before I would start chocking on the small bones, without looking up or stopping what she was doing my mum would toss a small piece of bread my way & tell me to eat, this would dislodge the small bones she'd say.
The memory makes me laugh, we definitely weren't molly coddled as kids.

If Bacalhau (dried Cod fish) is the main course in the Portuguese diet then Sardines are the entree. 
Sardines are so beloved by the Portuguese, you'll find them on every restaurant menu in Portugal. At home they are cooked simply usually whole as this retains  flavor & moisture.


For the Sardines
  • 12 sardines, gutted & scaled
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tea salt
  • 1 tea white pepper
  • 1 cup oil to fry ( 

Tomato & Capsicum Rice
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 large white onion, small dice
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1/2 capsicum, deseeded, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato passatta (tomato pulp) if you don't have that use diced tomatoes
  • 1 tea paprika
  • 2 tea salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tab parsley flat leaf

 1. In a pot (heat should be a medium to hot flame) add the olive oil.
Add the onion, garlic & fry for 1 minute then add the capsicum & bay leaves  cooking for   another  minute.     
Add the rice & stir coating the grains with the oil. Then add the paprika & salt.
Add the tomatoes & water. Bring the water to the boil on high heat, then reduce the heat to low & cover. Cook the rice for 20 minutes.

2. Before you cook the rice make sure the sardines are cleaned.

 3. Put the flour, salt & pepper on a plate. Coat the sardines with the flour.
Then in a fry pan heat the oil. Then fry the sardines. This should take 3 or 4 minutes on each side.

4. Once the rice is cooked switch off  the heat. The rice should be wet. Be aware that the rice absorbs water, so you need to serve immediately otherwise your rice will be dry. 

 5. The sardines remain juicy & moist.

6. I love eating sardines this way in winter. The rice adds a bit of depth & warmth to the cool weather. 

This is a restaurant right on the beach, not near it but right on it. It's location is in the Algarve, Portugal. The restaurant sign says Barbecued Sardines,the restaurant served different types of food which was simple & fresh.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quince Paste ( Marmelada) & Spaghetti Squash (Doce de Chila)

I have a confession to make, a little secret I've kept to myself, something that's a bit embarrassing.
I like buying & making preserves, jams, chutneys & preserved fruit.The more unusual the more I want to buy it or make it. The thing is I don't really like eating them that much, if at all.
I know it sounds weird but I have this compulsion, I'm like a magpie who sees something shinny & just has to have it.
I just had to make these 2 preserves, as these are Portugal's most famous preserves. As I don't eat these I decided to give these 2 to my mum, for Mothers Day & sister in law.
Which made them extremely happy.

The Portuguese love sweet preserves, Quince Paste (Marmelada) is a staple in most Portuguese homes, & when I was in Portugal every household I visited brought out their home made version.
It's eaten in the morning for breakfast usually with bread & semi soft cheese.

Spaghetti Squash (Doce de Chila) is used as an ingredient in cakes as well as for decorating them.
Once cooked it resembles threads, a bit like spaghetti,  hence the name.
Many people in Portugal grow this vegetable & so make this preserve.
It's not so easy to find in here in Australia, I happened to come across it by accident.

One thing to remember when making the Spaghetti Squash is that the Squash can't be opened with a knife. You can either break it on the floor or you can get a pot & hit the squash with the pan,which is what I did.

Quince Paste (Marmelada)
  • 3 large quinces (weighted 1350)
  • 1kg caster sugar
  • lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon quill

1. Cut the quinces leaving the skin & pips on. In a pot add the quinces, lemon peel, cinnamon peel & cover with water. They will oxidise & discolour, don't worry about that, it'll add to the colour.

2. Cook the quince till very soft, this should take 45 min.Once cooked drain the quince in a colander reserving 100ml of the juice.

3. Mash the quinces (skin & pips) in a blender. Then sieve the quince to remove the pips & skin.

4. In a clean pot add the quince puree, 100ml of the reserved juice & the sugar. Then cook it on a low heat stirring every 10 min.

5. Cook until the mixture is thick & has changed colour, into a deep rich mahogany colour.
     The low heat will prevent the mixture from burning.

6. Once the quince is cooked scoop it into a bowl or any container.

Spaghetti Squash Preserve (Doce de Chila
  • 1 spaghetti Squash (weigh the flesh)
  • sugar equals the weight of the spaghetti squash
  • 400ml water
     Spaghetti Squash

1. Hit the squash with a pan so it breaks open. Break it into pieces. Don't use a knife to cut it open. Scoop out the inside flesh using a wooden spoon.

2. Put the pieces of squash (skin & all) into a pot & fill with water & cook the squash till it's soft.

 3. Once the squash is cooked scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin.

4. Once all the flesh is removed, weigh the squash. Then weigh out equal amounts of sugar.
In a pan add the sugar & water & cook till it's syrupy,thick with no colour.
Then add the squash & cook for 20min or till thick. 

6. Once it's cook add the preserve into a clean preserving jar.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pears Baked in Port Wine

We're in May, it’s meant to be autumn, a time when it becomes cooler outside, leaves change, and everything slows down.
This year it’s been an incredibly hot summer & it seems to be never ending. The hot weather has carried on even during autumn.  I’m not complaining mind you because I like the hot weather.
Autumn foods are starting to make their way into our supermarket shelves.
One of my favourite cooler months fruits are pears.
I love cooking pears, either stewing them or baking them.
I used Port wine in this recipe but you can use any sweet red wine you like.
Port wine comes from the Portuguese city Porto, & is a sweet wine usually drunk at the end of a meal.


  • 4 pears
  • 1 1/2 cups Port wine
  • 6 tab honey
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tea cinnamon, ground
 1.  Peel & core the pears.
      In a roasting pan add the pears & all the ingredients. 
      Cover the pan with foil.
      Cook the pears for 30 min at 180 degrees, then remove the foil & bake a further 20min.
      The pears should be cooked & the juice should have reduced & thickened up 
      Serve with plain yogurt, cream, or ice cream

Monday, May 3, 2010

Algarve Restaurants

Before I post a recipe, I'd like to share a couple of sites that I follow.
I wanted to share with you my readers both these posts. It's in Portuguese so if you want to know what's been said than just go to google translator & it'll translate the post for you.
Basically the post is about a few bloggers who take a trip to the Algarve, take in some workshops, went market shopping checking out local produce.
They also went to some  local restaurants.
We have some nice Portuguese restaurants in Sydney, but there a bit stuck in the 70's with not many fully trained chefs at the helm of many of these kitchens, don't get me wrong there great in a sort of home style sort of way, but their not the fine dining experience you get with many Italian, Japanese restaurant.
The posts show the best of Portuguese cuisine & a testament that food has evolved to a higher level in Portugal.
So great to see.
It's also the area my family is from, so I'm happy to show everyone the great produce this area has. 
Here are both links enjoy.

Tavira Food Fairs
Marzipan Workshop
algarve restaurants
Algarve Food Markets
Algarve restaurants2

Algarve, food, & Tours
Algarve restaurants3