Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The year of the "cad"


 One of my favourite songs back in the day was "Year of the cat" by Al Stewart, inspired by the film Casablanca.In a 2012 interview he described his writing philosophy —
If it’s already been written, why write it again? If it’s already been said, why say it again? I mean there are some remarkable quotes that I love. But I didn’t say them.
And you don’t want to pass them off as your own work. Napoleon said that “Time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted”.
And that, actually, has governed my life. You know what I mean? That’s a quote you can live by. But it’s not my quote. So if I say it I always credit it to Napoleon. There is another way of saying any of the things you want to say, rather than rehashing someone else’s words.
I bet you wonder where this is going? well this quote succinctly sums up what happened to this blog a few months back and still remains unresolved.When I started writing this blog four years ago all I wanted was to share with others my passion for food and cooking,and many of you have re-posted some of the recipes giving me an author´s credit.That is all I ever asked for, and that I would do the same in return.
Well back in October whilst visiting a friend, we inadvertently picked up a copy of a magazine for expats and on opening it, found one of the O Cozinheiro blog posts published word for word with absolutely no credit,and no credit for the photograph of which I had cleared copyright with its photographer.I had originally written the post in two languages,Portuguese and English.Not surprisingly the Portuguese transcript had been removed. 
I contacted the rogue publisher who freely publishes both his and his wife Ange´s mobile phone number alongside an advert in the magazine for his Karaoke bar in Tavira. I politely asked him how he was going to address the theft and plagiarism of our blog.He asked me what I wanted and I suggested financial compensation.He asked how much, and having both of us worked in magazines ourselves, related it to the fact that the space given was 2/3 of a page with a 1/3 page advert below and therefore asked for a realistic going rate per line per word.He grunted and reluctantly offered me an insulting 10% of that amount.I laughed and rejected his offer on the grounds that a manual labourer earns more than that in an hour.We then went down the avenue of him writing a full apology and credit in his next issue.He agreed verbally but has never since honoured his word.He informed us by email that his magazine was closing using the words "Another nail in the coffin for the East Algarve".(I dont think so).2 issues on and still no redress, we have contacted him again,without any response.
 The small print on the masthead of his magazine informs us that he is quite clearly a man of his word...

"All rights reserved.Except for normal review purposes,no part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. 
Every care has been taken in the preparation of this magazine"

Quite clearly they haven´t. He informed me my blog post was submitted to him by one of his readers who considered the content would be beneficial to Chef Noélia,no doubt it would.He failed to check with them the source of their submission and then failed to gain clearance with myself or the photographer before he published.
The man is a cad and quite clearly has no respect or integrity,and is making financial gain through cheap journalism which steals other peoples work.
cad
A rogue, or bounder. A cad is a man who is aware of the codes of conduct which seperate a gentleman from a ruffian, but finds himself unable to quite live up to them. Cads are quite capable of disguising themselves as good chaps for some time, only revealing their true nature in circumstances of particular stress or temptation. Others embrace their caddishness whole-heartedly and delight in behaving in a manner which is, to be quite frank,dishonourable.

Happy New year to all honourable readers and please do ask if you would like to re-publish any content of this blog.I am sure I will be only to happy to oblige.To all you fellow bloggers out there,just beware of these rapists that come in the night and steal your work.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

My Portugal,my best christmas present


 “I like to define my cooking style as Portuguese-inspired, 
but also globally influenced,”  
Georges Mendes

A book is for life not just for Christmas, and having waited for so long I could not have been given a better Christmas present than Georges Mendes new book "My Portugal."Here is a book that I will cherish and use now and forever.
A Portuguese-American chef, Mendes has just celebrated five years at his well-regarded Flatiron restaurant Aldea,. His restaurant, offering traditional seasonal Portuguese cuisine but with his own international spin, earned him a Michelin star in 2011.
Aldea is a Portuguese word that means village or countryside and it’s actually inspired by a poem that his grandfather wrote in 1977 when as a child Mendes was visiting Portugal for the first time. It was a poem about the hard knocks of life and farming.
A first-generation American born to Portuguese farming stock, Mendes grew up with memories of home-cooked meals and salt cod soaking in the garage.He therefore came to cooking with vibrant traditions in his arsenal.
The title really reflects his upbringing and early visits as a child to Portugal, and going back as a teenager and again as an adult, it tells the story the story of someone growing up and being introduced to food.Given the chance, this is just the kind of book I would write. A story full of culinary heritage coming deep from family roots.As an estrangeiro living in Portugal with roots elsewhere, it is books like this that help me to discover and unearth a wealth of Portuguese heritage and introduce it through my blog to a whole new audience,often like Mendes, putting my own twist on things but possibly not often enough.Hopefully being inspired by this offering, it will help me up my game.New year, new you, new recipes they say.I see Portuguese women of a certain age in the butchers buying pigs ears and always wondered how they cook them.In this book I found that at Aldeia they serve crispy pigs ears with ramps and cumin yoghurt.Having just re-discovered offal I cant wait to try this. Pork scratchings and toresmos come to mind.I predict crispy fried pigs years could become the new chips.after the bitter disappointment of the sprouts I served on Christmas day,I wish I´d had this book earlier and I would have tried his brussels sprouts with quince and bacon instead.
I suppose why I have such an affiliation with Mendes cooking is his attention to sourcing and simplicity,something that comes across clearly in this book.He looks at where Portuguese cuisine has come from and how it has moved away from Portugal too.A cuisine that has crossed boundaries.He includes recipes from the former colonies, for example "Shrimp Mozambique style" in which he uses ingredients such as okra and things not so familiar in Portuguese cuisine.It is in dishes like this that he so cleverly brings memories of Portugal´s seafaring past to the tables of today´s Manhattan diners.
Then there’s a Goan cuttlefish recipe too, and his love of Japanese food and sushi also comes across.There is hardly a single recipe here that I dont want to try.

The design of the pages is clean and simple with beautifully styled photography and laid out in a way that makes each recipe accesiible to a domestic cook.

I know running a restaurant isn't easy, especially in the uber-competitive New York environment,but Mendes must being doing something right. After opening Aldea in 2009,  it’s long been anticipated that Mendes would expand into a more casual style.
His long awaited new restaurant, opening on 29th Street and 6th Avenue this winter, promises to be in the style of a “rustic Portuguese café” with a menu inspired by the chefs roots and will be equipped with a large wood-burning oven, which Mendes hints will be a primary focus. He'll be cooking, among other things. butterflied flattened chicken with  piri piri, and you can´t get more traditional than  that, but I am sure there will be a little twist or tweak in there.The concept will be beer-driven and modeled on the cervejarias of Lisbon, with very simple cooking and a raw bar. An affordable place you can eat at every day. 
Cinnamon sugar "doughnuts" with salt caramel sauce is one of my many bookmarks already in the book so watch this space, I think there will be some treats in store for the New year.By George he´s got it.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Votos a todos



Votos a todos

Feliz Natal
Feliz Navidad
Glædelig Jul
Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
  Fröhliche Weihnachten
Joyeux Noel  
Gajan Kristnaskon
Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr! Buon Natale

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Cupboard love, a crafty christmas challenge


Oh how I love my store cupboard. It is Christmas Eve and I still need some simple, effortless, no buy, no bother treats. Bearing in mind the imminence of the annual ritual of pantrification, I turn to the larder to come up trumps with some simple ingredients.Some forgotten standby´s coming close to their sell by date will clear some valuable future  shelf space and give me what I need for my challenge of the moment.
 My five minute pantry probe saw me flouncing back into the kitchen rewarded with a bounty of choice ingredients,including.......
Mini vol au vent cases
Chocolate cups
jar of home made lemon curd
a packet of 16 mini tarlet cases
icing sugar
Jar of classic mincemeat
Dried apricots 
Maciera
Sugar, honey, flour
Mixed dried fruit (raisins sultanas,candied peel)
glaçe cherries
Blanched and flaked almonds
bar of cooking chocolate

and with the help of some friends from the fridge
Butter
1 apple
Half a quince
I set to work and before long had come up with some tasty sweet canapés.First off, using the tartlet cases,some mini open mince pies. No time to make pastry so just fill the cases with some mincemeat, pop em in the until heated through.Remove and Hey ho Santa, I had my first Christmas treat.

Second up,I filled the chocolate cups with some home made lemon curd.You could substitute almost any filling here,perhaps a chilled eggnog sprinkled with grated nutmeg
for a festive touch.

Next up something slightly more elaborate,inspired by one of my mothers old Christmas offerings, an apple, mincemeat, quince and apricot jalousie.I chopped one of the apples, the quince half and some dried apricots into very small pieces.I sautéed the fruits in some butter and a small spoonful of Maciera (a Portuguese brandy similar to calvados)and  some sugar for a couple of minutes but still letting them retain some crunch.I stirred through some mincemeat and when cool I spooned them into the vol au vent cases. I know a jalousie should have a lattice topping,but the filling was so pretty I decided these should be left open too.While still warm I dusted them with icing sugar and yo ho ho another fruity feast.

Last up - Florentines. Click here for my recipe ( makes 18 medium sized Florentines) These are always a favourite at this time of year, a little bit more of a faff to make than the previous two but well worth the effort.As you can see from the picture I cut them into fan shaped bite sized pieces.

 Who wouldn´t rather spend Christmas eve afternoon in the kitchen than fighting with those who´ve left it till the last minute to fight the crowds, food shopping.Oh how smug I felt that I could now put my feet up and tuck in to some sweet things.Not only that but I had used up all those half packets of dried fruits, nuts and whatever else making room for new year new stocktaking.

Total prep and cooking time 30 minutes

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A filosofia do nariz a rabo (A nose to tail Philosophy)

If one is a carnivore I think one should adopt (especially in these days of austerity) a nose to tail philosophy.If an animal gives up its life in order to feed us I feel the least we can do is honour that, and do our darn best to be creative and consume as much from it as we possibly can.My ever resourceful mother, who had been brought up on war-time rationing, made meals from most of the frowned upon and less accessible cuts.I watched her delight in marinating an ox tongue and then pressing it.As you are aware I recently cured and pressed an ox tongue.After that I have been on a bit of an oxtail roll.I cooked braised oxtail for a sunday lunch for friends and found myself with ample leftovers.Having saved the broth ( not the brine) that I had cooked the ox tongue in, I brought together some of the pieces of oxtail and boiled them down in the tongue stock (onion celery and carrot).The remaining meat was already falling off the bones and after boiling for an hour I then discarded the bones,added some of the left over gravy and ox meat and blitzed it all in the processor to produce a hearty warming winter soup.Served up with a glug of sherry( as mother always thought appropriate) one has a hearty and robust winter soup.
Apply the same principal to your christmas left overs and you can´t go wrong.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Jamon -an Iberican communion,for life not just for christmas


HELLO,is it meat you´re looking for? well you´ve clicked on the right page.So vegetarians click away now, because I am going to wax lyrical about cured meat.Yes and for those of you have got this far there are two Christmas recipes at the end.
My favourite ham, with apologies to my Portuguese brethrens, is not from Portugal but from our neighbour Spain,where Belotta and Pata Negra come from the Iberian black pigs.The free range, pure bred black pigs roam the ground looking for the  acorns,beans herbs and wild flowers that give them their distinctive flavour.
Jamón Serrano is Spain´s very special ham. It means ´mountain ham`because more often than not it is made in the mountain regions, where cold winters and hot summers are perfect for the curing process
These hams are not smoked, but cured,and served raw.
Who,when innocently first rubbing salt into the leg of a pig, could have imagined they would end up four years later with such a delicacy?
The hind leg of the pig receives a daily massage of salt for a month before being hung in airy curing rooms at high altitude for more than a year.This is surely an acclaimed miracle cure.Of all the foods that have been preserved out of necessity,surely ham is the most satisfactory. Many consider it a bit of a luxury and indeed it can be, (pata negra ´black hoof´ for example is very expensive ) but this is only because of a shopping habit of buying expensive miniscule packets in the supermarket rather than going to a proper( may I call it "Emporio Salami") delicatessen who will carve it for you off the bone.For me this meat is sacred and deserves a certain reverence.When you pass through the doors of these pig emporiums you are hit by a tantalizing aroma (indeed on one such pilgrimage my friend was overcome and had to leave the shop).The nearest I can come to describing this experience is having been in church as a child when I was often prone to fainting on my knees when the fragrance of burning incense was released from a thurible. Your impulse is to genuflect in respect as you watch the the wafer thin slices fall onto the white waxy paper as they are carved with artesan detail.You leave the inner sanctum feeling you have received not only a benediction but have acquired a capricious bulging package of wafer thin pig.My fridge is rarely without one of these, not only for Christmas but throughout the year. No hermetically sealed packets here, mother. 
You return home and as you unpack your shopping basket a second wave of that pervasive bouquet returns.You lay the thin slices out on a white plate with a basket of bread and the ritual continues.In my mind what is on that plate is something heavenly
The fat is as important and as much of a treat as the meat.It not only edges the the flesh,but weaves its way through the meat,lending tenderness,moisture and flavour.Few things are as subtly aromatic and ravishing as the silky fat from a slice of Jamon.Oh how it breaks my heart  when I see it cast aside on someone elses plate.Sacrilege.

Its like receiving holy Communion.The ham just melts in your mouth as the consecrated host would when receiving the holy sacrament.  
The flavour of jamon is less salty and overwhelming than bacon so it can be used in place of bacon in cooking.It works very successfully when wrapped around fish. I created two festive canapés using jamon.As a subtle foil to some monkfish tails I wrapped them in a slither of ham and charred them on the grill. My second trick was using jamon to elevate simple cheese straws.Woops,sorry, did I forget to mention that I always keep a pack of puff pastry in my freezer for occasions like this?

Ham and cheese straws
Makes 24
These tangy ham and cheese straws only take 20mins to rustle up and you make can  make 24 in a batch or 48 if you make them half the length which is great if you’re feeding plenty of people. A strong cheese like parmesan or if you want to be pure Iberican, a manchego, and cured Jamon  work well together. A sharp kick of Dijon mustard rounds off the flavour. Use ready-rolled puff pastry for extra speed and efficiency. Ideal for buffets or as party food, cook these twisty straws until they are golden and crisp.They can be made in advance,stored in an airtight tupperware and warmed through when you want them. 
320g sheet ready-rolled puff pastry
2tbsp Dijon mustard
4 slices jamon serrano
60g Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten

Cayenne pepper for dusting  

Set the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
Roll out the puff pastry to a large rectangle about 40 x 30cm. Spread over the Dijon mustard. With a short edge closest to you, cover the half nearest to you with the jamon, laid with the short edges facing you. Sprinkle with half the Parmesan cheese, then fold the other half of the pastry down over the ham. Run a rolling pin over to help them stick and to flatten. Trim edges to neaten. Brush with beaten egg.
Cut into strips, towards you, about 1cm thick and about 20cm long.(10cm if you want to make double the quantity.

 Twist each strip a few times before laying them on 2 baking sheets lined with non-stick baking parchment. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and dust with cayenne pepper.
Bake for 12-15 mins until crisp and golden, swapping the trays in the oven halfway through. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.
Monkfish tail wrapped in Jamon Iberico
1 monkfish tail cut into bite size pieces
(if you have more than you need from one tail freeze the remainder)
Thin slices of Presunto serrano
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut your monkfish tail into the number of bite size pieces you need.
Season well with salt and pepper
Cut thin slices of ham to the width of your pieces and carefully wrap them around the chunks.The thinner the ham the easier it will be for you to secure them.
(You can prepare up to this stage and then store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them).
Heat a grill pan( not ridged) to a medium to high heat.Place the wrapped pieces of monkfish join size down onto the grill and depending on the size of your pieces cook for 5-7 minutes until the ham is crispy and then turn them over and cook the other side for another 5-7 minutes.Remove from the grill and poke a cocktail stick into each piece.Serve immediately on their own or with a dipping sauce of your choice.my choice woiuld be a home made alioli.

Jamon a quick guide to buying
There are many grades of jamón ibérico, categorised primarily by the diet of the pigs. The curing process remains the same, but the length for which they are aged will differ, with the lower grade hams receiving little more than a year of hanging and the very best up to four years.
The age difference can be seen in the finished result, with the flesh of the younger hams having a lighter pink colour and those of older hams being a deep, ruby red. The taste too is very different, with the acorn richness of the jamón ibérico de bellota lingering on the palate like a fine wine.

Jamón ibérico de bellota
From pure Iberico pigs fed on a diet of acorns and granted DO status. These hams are aged for at least three years before being released, and often labelled 'reserva' and 'gran reserva' to denote their age.

Jamón ibérico de recebo
Fed on a diet of cereals and acorns and aged for at least three years.

Jamón ibérico cebo de campo
Free range, but fed only on a diet of cereals.

Jamón ibérico de cebo
Commercially reared pigs fed on a diet of cereals.
It is also worth sampling these excellent Serrano hams.

Jamón de Trévelez
Produced from white pigs which have been fed on commercial cereals, this is still a very fine ham, which fans say has a sweetness that comes from the climate in which the pigs are reared.

Jamón de Teruel
The first jamon in Spain to receive DO status, these mountain hams must be aged for at least 12 months after curing before being sold.


Friday, 19 December 2014

" A Celebration of Fanny"


First edition 1964

Just in time for Christmas on the Food Channel Nadia G is hosting a special series about cookery legend Fanny Cradock." A Celebration of Fanny" is a parody of the "Cradock Cooks for Christmas" TV shows in which the inimitable no-nonsense "cook" shares her unique style of festive gastronomy.Fanny gives advice on choosing, stuffing and carving the bird and makes her mother´s Family Trifle with her very favourite Swiss Roll slathered in apricot jam and sprinkled with a " sweet white wine such as Sauternes". "Its all in the booklet " Fanny keeps reminding us.The programme cuts back and forth from cuts of the original show to Nadia G cooking sensible modern takes inspired by Fanny´s abominations.If you are new to Fanny, or are of the generation like me that experienced Fanny first time round, you must catch this wonderful spoof.
While on the subject of Fanny I want to share with you the 50th anniversary of one of her greatest triumphs.If you can lay your hands on a copy this would make a very novel Christmas present for someone who would enjoy a nostalgic reminder of what TV chefs were like in the mid 60's.

It is 1964 and the last year in the UK when a crime was punishable by death,and the year the first edition of The Daily Telegraph Cooks Book was published.For many the majority of its recipes should have faced the death sentence.Its author,a preposterous character, who the foodies loved you to loathe was causing a culinary stir across middle class England. Her signature maquillage of a French clown or pantomime dame brought the same terror as might be experienced by a child witnessing the appearance of a kabuki performer.Her demeanour was of a woman in constant search of an argument. Terrifying, strange and rather grand – and that was just her cookery.From the mid-1950s to 1976, she was the "Queen of British cuisine". She was to be utterly reviled and disgraced during her lifetime: Her name:Fanny Cradock, Britain´s first celebrity chef.She introduced a well-off dinner party generation,my mother among them, to canapés and prawn cocktail. She and her monocled husband Johnny, appeared dressed for a ball, rather than for working in a kitchen.An early memory I recall is of her cooking in the kitchen in evening wear with long 3/4 length gloves.The pair delighted and astonished television audiences in hundreds of early cookery programmes, starting in 1955. In Kitchen Magic they put on airs as they demonstrated souffles ( “what goes up must come down” ) and eclairs.While piping rosettes of cream onto a trifle -- "they're frightfully important" -- Fanny would dispense pearls of wisdom for anyone looking to one-up the Joneses. ."Don't tell that woman next door [how to do it]," she warned, "and then you've got a bit of one-upmanship ... which is always satisfying." It was not a parody, however, but Fanny and Johnny's genuine idea of how our social betters wined and dined.She introduced a whole generation to ASPIC.What happened to aspic, does anyone still use aspic?
The Daily Telegraph Cooks Book by Bon Viveur was a pioneering influence on me as a child growing up in a 60´s kitchen. My parents were ardent Telegraph readers and the first column my mother would turn to, even before she put pen to the crossword, would always be "Bon Viveur”, Fanny Cradock´s early anonymous role as a food critic working alongside hubby Major John Craddock.
Her name probably won't mean much to people under the age of 40, but if your televisual memory extends to the mid '60s and beyond she will need no introduction.
Daily Telegraph readers knew the drill better than most.The forthright Bon Viveur columns, which acknowledged the contributions of Fanny's much-put-upon partner Johnnie, but which were unmistakably hers in tone and content, carried housewives from the dregs of rationing right through to the brashness of Thatcher's Britain.
The Daily Telegraph was the couple´s passport to stardom in the late 1940s. Fanny wrote fashion items and beauty tips for its pages under a brace of noms de plume. In 1949, shortly after her first recipe book, The Practical Cook, was published, the paper’s women’s editor asked her to take some weekend breaks in the country to see if any “worthwhile” restaurants had emerged since the war. Fanny and Johnnie visited hundreds of hotels and restaurants in Britain and abroad. They accentuated the positive, and wrote only about good ones.
The dual lure of the Daily Mail and the new Associated-Rediffusion independent television channel however was impossible for Fanny and Johnnie to resist, and they defected in 1955.The Telegraph regarded it as a separation rather than a divorce, and by 1959 the duo were back in the fold. The Daily Telegraph Cook's Book became one of 1964's bestsellers, by far outselling John Lennon´s “In His Own Write”, as it soared to the top of the charts.
I was only twelve at the time and it was like learning to read something surreal, a culinary version of Rudyard Kipling´s ´”Just So Stories”, full of whimsical oddities.Fanny´s strange ideas were perhaps a little beyond me as a minor.I was too young to  get the nuance of the captions like "Fine fish is never boiled”, or "Oh that poor spud!" Nevertheless it left a marked impression on me even though its physical evidence now seems to have vanished without a trace.I looked up at my mother´s kitchen wall constantly to see what was in season on the spin-off purchase she had mail ordered, the Bon Viveur Cooks Calendar, printed on cloth.Fanny Cradock wrote with aplomb and humour and a brisk Edwardian no-nonsense authority, unsympathetic to namby pamby ideas about electric toasters and instant coffee.I can imagine her throwing an acolyte's less-than-perfect culinary offering straight out of the window without a backward glance and without even pausing for breath. She would not countenance mutton ("divorce meat") but to make “Tripe which is not like stewed knitting “she gave detailed and strict instructions, and woe betide the reader who deviated from them even by a single teaspoon of “fécule de pommes". Herbs are characterised as "bad-tempered, secretive and choosy", "a prickly customer" and "a bit of a bully". Takes one to know one I suppose.
And it doesn't disappoint. It's bonkers and idiosyncratic,a thoroughly entertaining rant, but at the same time infused with a profound knowledge of cooking and a deep love of food.I don't believe for one minute they wrote it together; I like to imagine Fanny, reclining on a chaise-longue, with a fag in one hand and a gin and tonic in the other, barking the prose out at Johnnie, who's sitting upright in a hard-backed chair and desperately scribbling to keep up.The whole book is a delight, and here are a couple of Fanny´s specific cake-related tips that I am sure would bring a smile to Mary Berry´s face.
Subduing lumpy icing sugar
“Old, lumpy icing sugar can be a beast to sieve. It can soon be slapped into submission [I picture Johnnie quaking here, or possible shivering with pleasure - yeuch!] if you tuck it under a thick fold of paper and bash it with a rolling pin. After this treatment it runs through a sieve if you just shake and tap”.

Eclairs and cream buns
“will never have any surplus goo in the middle after baking if the mixture is made properly in the first place. Therefore the moronic advice to scoop goo out with the handle of a teaspoon should be treated with the contempt it deserves”.

And finally, the first lines of a chapter entitled "Let your starches breathe":-
“Please do not stifle your starches. Stop pawing them. Pastry prefers to remain aloof. It bitterly resents being stroked and patted. Such treatment makes it close up on itself and settle into a leaden sulk. Baking powder only gives it violent indigestion and successfully ruins flavour and texture, too”.
Many people couldn´t stand Cradock, but I adored her. Perhaps she was a subliminal signal to me that I would later revere drag queens.Beyond the epic snobbery and egotism, the lack of empathy, the overbearing insistence on her way and her way only, and the horrific comedy eyebrows she was an excellent cook and a first-rate if terrifying instructress. I can't remember a time when, thanks to this book, I didn't know about soupe au pistou and beignets d'aubergine, the true and correct meaning of the term "au gratin", how to make a perfect profiterole with “No Goo”, and most importantly, life-alteringly crucial to me, how to produce the perfect omelette, for which I gladly forgive her all her sins.
I will always love this book, but if you don´t already own an original edition and are looking for a second hand copy beware. In 1978 it was revised. Gone are all the cartoons, replaced by tasteful woodcuts, lots of the humour has been toned down and much of the snobby, endearing chatter is gone....even though most of the recipes are essentially unchanged, as a book it's worth holding out for an original.
Make sure the copy you are buying is one of the earlier editions, look for the blue spine and the cartoon of the butler with the boiled egg on the front.
Closely followed in 1967 came "The Sociable Cook´s Book" Culling more extracts from Bon Viveur's column in The Daily Telegraph. What is a Sociable Cook? Apparently "Someone who is completely unruffled by unexpected extra mouths to feed".
Fanny had a good innings at the Telegraph.The Bon Viveur columns survived till the mid eighties.
But having reviled and rebuked so many it was time to step down and relinquish her culinary crown.She had lost her grip on the nation.There was no forgiveness for her ritual dismembering in public of housewife Gwen Troake and from them on it was time to hand over her role,if reluctantly to a new generation of TV chefs.There were new ways to sell an omelette.She was well worth the tantrums,the bullying,the pretentious spun sugar and underneath all that couverture was a television genius who could turn some pretty dull ingredients into something pretty spectacular.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Afiambrada-língua de boi

   Afiambrada Casa Rosada style with home David Lebovitz´s Homemade mustard

Afiambrada as served at LSD in Porto
You may remember back in June, I shared with you how on a visit to Porto I had re-touched childhood memories with a plate of Lingua de Afiambrada,ox tongue and home made seed mustard.This stuck in my memory and I vowed that before the year was out I would bring back tradition and recreate my mother´s recipe for a brine cured pressed ox tongue.
Well, last week my butcher having remembered that I enquired about the availability of ox tongue and how much it cost, proffered me with just one of those.
I know, I know… this offal recipe might not be on top of everyone’s list of favourites, but I think you should at least give it a chance… if only a tiny little one.
I have never had a problem with the fact that I was eating an animal´s tongue and honestly, once you get over the aversion to the fact that it’s an actual tongue you’re dealing with, the whole experience just gets that much easier.
Once relegated to Jewish delis and sandwich lunches, tongue—like the rest of its offal brethren—is making glamorous appearances in butchers, supermarkets and on restaurant menus. Ever game for taking tough, cheap cuts and turning them into meat magic, chefs are using tongue again.Lets encourage this and see more tradition being incorporated into menus by chefs ( you know who you are) rather than pandering to what you think tourists want. While the affordable low price point is a clear draw—the real allure is the meat itself. The delicate texture that emerges after a long slow brine  and a heavy pressing under weights make this meat once again a shining star on smart restaurant menus, but so accessible at home too.Please people, start educating your children by bringing back culinary traditions and introducing them to the meals their grandmother gave you.Then and only then will we  have a healthier world with better nutrition,parents being able to give their children more affordable meals and last but not least, less obesity.Wake up and enjoy what was good in this world.Thank you Restaurant Largo Sao Domingos for bringing back this memory and inspiring me with this project.

HOME PRESSED OX TONGUE
Yield: Approximately 750g (1½lb) cooked meat
Serves 6 - 8
Before embarking on this project please refer to the guidelines below*


First up you need to rinse the tongue well and place it in a bowl or plastic container that´s large enough to to hold the tongue  plus about 8 cups of brine.

After your brine has cooled down completely, pour it right over your beef tongues until they are completely covered.

After the meat has been cured, rinse it under cold running water and place it in a large casserole or dutch oven; discard the brine, it’s done its job!
Add onions, garlic, celery and carrots to your casserole and cover with cold water.
No need to get fancy-schmancy with the vegetables here. You can even leave the peel on: it’ll only give more flavor to the cooking liquid!

Pressed and ready for sandwiches or cold cutting
Melt-in-your-mouth tender and flavoursome.
 Traditional comfort food at its best!

HOME PRESSED OX TONGUE
Yield: Approximately 750g (1½lb) cooked meat
Serves 6 - 8
INGREDIENTS
    TO CURE THE MEAT
  • 1.5kg (1½lb) ox tongue
  • 8 cups water
  • 2/3 cup coarse flor de sal
  • 2 tablespoons pink curing salt (prague powder )
  • 1 tablespoon spices,mustard seeds,coriander seeds,allspice,peppercorns,dried chilli
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 10-12 juniper berries
  • 1/2 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg
  • 4-5 whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise
  • TO COOK THE MEAT
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 celery rib, cut in half
  • 1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
  • Enough water to cover the meat
INSTRUCTIONS
    CURING THE MEAT
  1. Add all the ingredients, except for the tongue, to a large stockpot and bring to the boil. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved, then kill the heat and let the brine come down to room temperature. If at all possible, place it in the fridge and let it cool overnight. To speed up the process, you could also add only half of the water to the stockpot and put the other half in the freezer, then add the cold water to the brine once it has boiled and the salt has completely dissolved.
  2. Once the brine has cooled down, place your tongue into a non-reactive container and pour the brine right over it until it’s completely covered. Now you need to make sure that your meat is completely submerged and that it will remain submerged for the entire duration of the curing process. If it wants to float to the top, weigh it down with a plate or any other similar clean and non-reactive object that fits snugly inside your container.
  3. Place your meat in the fridge and leave it to cure for 12 to 14 days. Check daily to make sure that your meat is still submerged.

  4. BRAISING THE MEAT
  5. After the meat is done curing, rinse it under cold running water and place it in a Dutch oven; add onions, garlic, celery and carrots and cover with cold water. Discard brine.
  6. Cover your beef tongue place it in a 250F oven for about 6 hours or until the meat is super tender and pulls apart when you tug at it with a fork.
  7. Remove the cooked meat from the oven and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes and then peel the skin off. If your meat is cooked all the way, the skin should come right off. If it offers resistance, put it back in the oven and give it a bit more time in there.
        PRESSING THE MEAT
  1. Once the tongue has been completely peeled,and has been allowed to cool, transfer it to a 15cm (6") loose bottomed cake tin set within a pie dish in case of any leakage.Curl it round inside the cake tin as tight as possible and then place a ceramic pie dish or souffle dish with a slightly smaller diameter on top of the tongue.Put 6kg (8lb)of weights inside the soufflé dish and leave to set overnight in the fridge.When ready to serve,remove the dish with the weights and gently ease the pressed tongue from the cake tin.With a very sharp carving knife slicevery thin slithers crossways across the top of the tongue.
Some short notes on curing
Curing Salts (Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite)
Saltpeter (sodium nitrate) is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used to cure meat for thousands of years. Nitrate preserves meat by prohibiting the growth of spoilage bacteria (especially C. botulinum) and preventing fats from going rancid.
As it turns out, nitrate isn’t the active agent in meat curing, rather its derivative, nitrite. Nitrite causes the preservative effects, as well as the appetizing reddish-pink colour and pleasing flavor that we associate with cured meat. People continued to use nitrates only until they ceased to be readily available,due to their connection with terrorism. Nitrate apparently is still used today only when a slow-cure method is needed for raw-cured products,

Curing salt  or pink curing salt is a “fast” cure that contains sodium nitrite and is known by various brand names. The pink colour ensures that users will not confuse it with any other type of salt.
If you don’t have or don’t want to use curing salt containing sodium nitrite, you can brine meats without it. Without curing salt that contains sodium nitrite, the colour of the cured meat will be grey rather than pink and the flavour is less sweet .

Who knew that I would someday end up making my very own pressed ox tongue…  If mother were still with us, I think she’d be very proud of me! - and it looks like it could well become a Casa Rosada staple

Monday, 15 December 2014

Quentao,it´s like winter in June


I dont know about you but I have always been accustomed to some mulled wine from November to Christmas.Huddled around the bonfire or wrapped up in mufflers watching fireworks in the garden, there is nothing that warms the cockles more than a seasonal steaming vat of mulled wine.The wafting aromas from the spice laden brew brings warmth and energy.This weekend Casa Rosada provided the venue for an office Christmas party and I thought it would be opportune to proffer our guests with a little warm something on their entrance.I did my research and discovered that mulled wine is not alien to the Portuguese, but more frequently adopted in Brazil where rum is the more popular constituent than red wine. Nowadays apparently, it is not always tradition but the makers means and pocket that determines this decision.
Quentão, (Brazilian mulled wine) literally translated as “Big Heat” and consists basically of a heated mixture of red wine, ginger, sugar, and spices such as cinnamon and cloves… Well, at least in southern Brazil where the largest production of wine is located. In northeastern Brazil, Quentão is made from cachaça instead, a distilled alcoholic white rum made from fermented sugarcane juice. Alas I had no cachaça to hand so I chose to make Quentão de vinho or Brazilian mulled wine as I said earlier.Before someone accuses me of serving alcohol to children (The parties it is normally served at are family affairs) I have to explain tha Quentão de vinho is suitable for children because all the wine alcohol content will be evaporated during the boiling process.If you wish, you could use a good quality grape juice instead of red wine.
Brazilian celebrations, Festa Junina, are historically related to European Midsummer.In Brazil however June is the beginning of the Brazilian winter (June to September) and the southern most part of the country, having a sub-tropical climate, can experience temperature falling below freezing during this period.The drink is normally consumed outdoors, so on cold nights round the bonfire this winter warmer is much appreciated. In the north of the country however the drink is increasingly common at Christmas.Those lucky Brazilians are spoilt.They have Caipirinhas in Summer and Quentão in winter.I got cold feet at the last minute and decided to offer a
safer bet to our visitors, but nevertheless made it the next day for ourselves and thank god for the spice who brought us in from the cold.
Quentão de vinho
Brazilian mulled wine

Makes about 6 Glasses
Ingredients:
1 litre red wine such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon (or grape juice if desired)
( I used Fontanario de Pegoes)
17 fl. ounces (1/2 liter) of water
1 orange, slicedor zest of tangerine, mandarin or clementine
2 slices of fresh ginger, peeled

4 bay leaves
6 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks

grated nutmeg (optional)
1 cup sugar (or more, if desired)

Place all the ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly just until sugar has dissolved (about first 2-3 minutes of heating). Let boil for additional 10 minutes. Strain and serve warm. Garnish as desired.



Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Gorreana Green tea-ramisu


This post is something I have wanted to get off my chest for ages.This is the story of my chequered history and love/hate relationship with tiramisu. It harks back to the nineties when I first saw a recipe for green tea-ramisu in Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine or Vogue Entertaining, I dont remember which, but the tear sheet has long since disappeared from my "to be sorted" folder.Twenty years later it has come back to haunt me. I was recently tippling with trivia for my "Cooking with Colour board" on pinterest.The whole internet world it seemed was awash with pictures of tiramisu made with green tea.There are two reason perhaps why I have never made this. Firstly Matcha green tea is somewhat of a luxury commodity coming in at €20 for 80g, and secondly I have never been a great fan of some of the abominations that have been created in the name of tiramisu.When I did a screen test for Masterchef back in 1995 I upset Italian chef Madelena Bonino, one of the judges, who through her arms up in horror when,on the grounds that I disliked tiramisu, I put my alternative in front of her. She had missed the point completely. I was not trying to make a tiramisu.She repeatedly told me how my "tiramisu" should be much creamier.Quite clearly I had touched an over sensitive national nerve.I´d upset her and that was that, me out of the competition.
Since living in Portugal I have become aware of the nation´s obsession with and mega consumption of green tea, so I thought now the time had come for green tea-ramisu, made not with Japanese Matcha but with a more affordable Portuguese Gorreana green tea from the Açores. I checked and there is a traditional Açorean pudding made with green tea, Pudim de Cha Verde de Gorreana dos Azores (Green Tea Flan from Azores) but it did not look very appetising.It is more related to Pudim flan (Portuguese creme caramel) and my mission was to make a green coloured pudding.Gorreana green tea would never give me the colour that Matcha produces, but I was soul bent on making it 100% Portuguese. 
 Natural colourants often lend a more demure hue than their petroleum-laden cousins. A concentrated artificial food colouring requires only a few drops to add colour and thus doesn’t change the texture of the food by adding vast amounts of liquid. I kept my required final flavour in mind so as to avoid overwhelming it.
Green food colouring however is easy to create and very quick. Juice extracted from spinach is one such solution and does not taint what it is being added to,likewise avocado.I opted for the latter, mashing some ripe avocados and mixing them in with my other ingredients.This provided me  not only with a pale green colour to lift my pudding but also give it some texture. I was also removing the caffeine hit by dipping my biscuits in green tea as opposed to coffee.All in all a more subtle flavour, and the caffeine hit would be lessened ( Matcha can give quite a jolt too). So by "portuguesifying" tiramisu I seemed to be giving birth to a mutant confection.Here was something so delicious and spectacular that I defy even the most determined dieter not to succumb to temptation. What I ended up with was a cross between Bolo de bolacha and a semi-freddo ice cream cake.


1-1 1/2 cups brewed green tea, cooled to warm
2 packets savoyard (ladyfingers) biscuits (I ended up using a bit more than 2 boxes of ladyfingers, because I doubled the recipe to do the picket fence(optional)

Green Tea Mascarpone Mixture
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 medium avocado
250g mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp finely ground Gorranea green tea

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a  bowl  until the mixture is pale yellow and has doubled in volume. Set aside.
Beat the mascarpone cheese until smooth and creamy. Don’t overbeat it or it will get clumpy (though if that happens, it’s not the end, you can still smooth it out at the end with the cream).
Add the ground Gorranea in small amounts at a time, adjusting according to your taste. If you prefer a stronger tea taste, feel free to add another teaspoon of matcha powder. Mash the avocado with a fork to a smooth mellifluous consistency and then add it to the mascarpone and mix to blend well.
Fold the mascarpone cheese into the egg yolk mixture .
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks.
Fold the mascarpone mixture  into the whipped cream until well blended.

Count out the number of lady fingers you need to make a picket fence( optional) round the circumference of the tin.Cut the ladyfingers to height of the springform tin.
Dip each ladyfinger into the brewed green tea (don’t let them sit in the tea too long or you’ll get soggy ladyfingers but give it a second or two so they do get a little soft). I used a pie dish so that it’s easier to place the ladyfinger in the tea. Roll the ladyfingers over to get them soaked then remove them. Make a line of them around the circumference of the tin making the fence.Repeat the process with more biscuits but this time layering them crossways across the base of the tin inside the fence.
Spread the mascarpone cream mixture on top, and repeat with alternate layers of soaked biscuit and cream filling until finished (I made three layers of biscuit and three layers of filling ). The top layer should finish with the remaining the mascarpone.
 Refrigerate overnight to let it set well. I find that overnight is best.
When you are ready to serve dust with ground green tea powder and finely grated chocolate just before serving.

Other things to do with green tea
Green tea jelly
Lime and green tea salt
Put green tea, lime zest and kosher or sea salt into mortar & pestle, grind or pound until finely crumbled (powdery) & mixed. Spread on sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper & put in a low oven about 1 hour to dry.
Green tea shortbread
Green tea pannacotta




Friday, 5 December 2014

Cracking chestnut and chouriço soup (sopa de castañas)

a soup that matches the rich seasonal hues outside
 
Can anything beat the smell of chestnuts sizzling and spitting on a brazier? Christmas shopping in the city wouldn´t be the same without that fragrant scent.On our recent trip to Lisbon I was reminded that it is that time of the year when chestnut sellers line the streets of major cities selling delicious hot chestnuts to warm your cockles.The toasty treat that Nat King Cole immortalized in "The Christmas Song" is a once a year-round staple of street vendors worlwide.
Like sweet potato, chestnuts have become a nostalgic tradition during the Christmas season.Just the smell of them brings back so many good memories.When I think of chestnuts, I think of winter, snow and fireplaces.Bring some raw chestnuts home, dry roast them in the oven for 20-25 minutes and while still warm discard the shells.Add chouriço to the equation and you have something traditionally
Spanish that is synonymous with autumn, Chestnut and Chouriço soup.
The soup is simple but satisfying, subtle yet packed with layers of wonderful flavour. The sweetness of the chestnuts and the salty, spicy nature of the chorizo are perfect bedfellows, and the colour of the soup matches the rich seasonal hues outside.I mean, how more autumn can this soup get?Its comforting and a bit spicy, yum! The soup freezes beautifully and so it can be made in advance then reheated. It doesn´t get much better than that when planning for stress free Christmas catering.


Sopa de castañas
Chestnuts are often paired with sausage, but using spicy Spanish chorizo definitely gives this soup an edge (one that will vary greatly, depending on the type of chorizo you buy).The addition of cumin and saffron bring in hints of North Africa and the Middle East.

4tbsp olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 celery stick, thinly sliced
120g mild cooking chorizo, cut into 1cm cubes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1tsp ground cumin
1½tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 small dried red chillies, crushed
2 tomatoes, fresh or tinned, roughly chopped
500g cooked, peeled chestnuts fresh or vacuum-packed), roughly chopped
20 saffron threads, infused in 3-4 tbsp boiling water
1 litre water
Sea salt and black pepper



In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat.
Add the onion, carrot, celery, chorizo and a pinch of salt and fry for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything caramelises and turns quite brown. This gives the soup a wonderfully rich colour and taste.
Now add the garlic, cumin, thyme and chilli and cook for one more minute, followed by the tomato and, after about two minutes, the chestnuts.
Give everything a good stir, then add the saffron-infused liquid, and the water, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and mash by hand (with a potato masher) until almost smooth but still with a little bit of texture. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Fruity alioli,a christmas quince esential


There are certain culinary aromas that herald the imminence of Christmas.Tearing back the peel from a satsuma,tangerine or clementine is one, but the unforgettable scent of the quince at this time of year has to be the most distinctive of all.So beautiful is the smell of the ripe fruit that there is a temptation to keep the whole lot in the fruit bowl until Christmas, just for their perfume.The quince is not a user friendly fruit by any means, so any thoughts of sinking your gnashers and tucking into it  as you would a pear, you can forget.
Quince has a particular affinity with pork, especially a fatty cut like shoulder or belly, as its astringency cuts through the richness of the meat. I have often added some pieces of quince to slow-roasted pork.I have also used it in crumbles and bakes as a foil to apples and pears.Quince has a great affiliation with dairy products too,so it makes great ice cream – the flavour is so distinct and wonderful that it really holds up to the addition of cream and also being frozen. Quince is a very versatile fruit, so once you get to grips with the fact that it needs long, slow cooking, you will find yourself putting it with all sorts of things – a slice with yogurt in the morning, a piece with some cheese at lunch and some with your roast meat at dinner.
Quince is probably most commonly eaten as membrillo or marmelada, a quince paste that is popular in Spain and Portugal. There are any number of versions; my favourite is a coarse paste with a deep red hue, and is delicious eaten with an aged tangy cheese like Manchego, Pecorino or a mature Cheddar. Quince paste is also useful in cooking – a slice in the pan with a good old game bird can add the fruity sweet and sour flavour that game needs.My latest discovery with quince comes by way of Moro,the restaurant in Exmouth market,London. You add crushed garlic and olive oil to the quince paste to make a delicious quince alioli to eat with roast pork.
Quince alioli
This fruity variation of alioli goes especially well with pork and lamb. It's best to use a food processor or mixing bowl when you're dealing with something as dense as membrillo, but if you're just using a pestle and mortar, melt the membrillo down first with a tiny bit of water (I used Oloroso sherry)? over a low heat. This will make it easier to incorporate the oil.There is no need to for egg to emulsify the alioli as the membrillo is thick enough to serve the same function, and better still, unlike a regular alioli, it is difficult to split this.

Serves 4
1 large garlic clove
250g membrillo (quince paste)
150ml oil (equal parts extra virgin olive oil and sunflower oil)
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and black pepper
Crush the garlic with a little salt in the pestle and mortar.
Transfer to a food processor or bowl, and add the membrillo. Blend, and slowly add the oil in a thin stream, resting occasionally, until all the oil is incorporated. Add more salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Time Out Mercado da Ribeira,the new kid on the block

 The "market" you see today is a very different version of what has gone before

...Back on track we turned a corner and there she was in all her glory, the Mercado da Ribeira with its new kid on the block, The Time Out Mercado da Ribeira.It was lunchtime and normally this would be a bad time to visit a food market,when all the stalls would be closing for the day.As it transpired it was one of the best times to go.
As we passed through the original central hall this indeed what was happening,the traders were shutting up shop for the day,but next door we were thrown into the hurly burly of a Lisbon lunch hour.Office workers and shop assistants alike were enjoying a novelty new lunchtime experience. 

 choose your outlet grab a tray a pull up a chair
Here was fast a food Michelin Star heaven.Lisbon´s finest restaurants and their star chefs were now able to make their food accessible to those who could perhaps not afford the luxury of fine dining and all that goes with it.The choice was immense, with almost thirty foodie outlets and one did not have to worry about getting a seat.With rows of sharp-cornered, light-wood tables and stools spread out down the middle, the Mercado da Ribeira is now no longer a place just to buy ingredients. Now it is a place to meet, sit and eat. Here were "shop-fronts" for restaurants, bars, posh burger joints like  Honorato (one of the first burger restaurants to take advantage of the burger craze in Lisbon), patisseries and cafes serving a tasty mix of Portuguese and International dishes.The new clientele that sat around us, one would imagine, were the now-grown-up kids who used to go produce shopping here with their parents.

Here was a showcase for Chefs such as Alexandre Silva´s celebrated sushi and contemporary Portuguese dishes from Bica do Sapato. The hippest restaurant in Lisbon for over a decade and still the place to see and be seen. It's known for being co-owned by actor John Malkovich, but has remained popular mostly for its excellent gourmet cuisine and attractive minimalist space, coincidentally along the waterfront from the Mercado da Ribeira in a renovated riverfront warehouse by the The Santa Apolonia train station.Silva was already almost at the top of his game at the five star Alentejo Marmaris Hotel and Spa when he stayed here at Casa Rosada in 2013.After a complete reccy of all the 35 outlets in the hall it was time for some sustenance.First up the usual protracted decision making.We were tempted by finger licking innovative burgers,
transitional Portuguese croquettes or posh as all get out cheffy stuff from Vítor Claro, Miguel Castro Silva, or Marlene Vieira. My eye was drawn to some fine fine presunto salad served in an ice cream cornet from Manteigaria Silva? I think they were actually free samples but never one to miss a new trick I filed it in my back head.

 




 

However the more familiar Henrique Sá Pessoa seemed an obvious choice and his endearing menu represented some really clever and interesting fast food takes.
interesting fast food takes from Henrique Sá Pessoa
The best thing about this space is a group of friends can take whatever they want and meet at a table.You can mix and match and there is something there that will suit even the fussiest of eaters.If one person wants pizza but their friend prefers fish, and there are vegetarians amongst you, no problem.We were meeting up with four friends and this is exactly what we did.The majority of the party went for the Pessoa option and the thespian and I opted for suckling pig sandwiches in soft wodgy baps. I forget which stand they came from, but they were to die for, and I died I did and went to hog heaven. Perchance there was a bar just a short schlep from our table and bottles of Prova Regia Reserva at €11 a bottle seemed to be the order of the day. We volunteered to sit wide on our high chairs and keep an eye on small items such as purses and bags while our friends tottered off to make their choices.They soon returned armed with what appeared to be a state of the art kitchen timer.
A small, black disc about the size of a paper weight, that they had been assured would ‘go off’ when their meal was ready.Indeed it did and in due course went into neon flashing and buzzing overdrive.


Now we were enjoying all the fun of the fare and we had to explore the pudding options.we didn´t have to venture far before we found Nós é mais bolos with its wonderful hanging mobile of teapots.We ordered a chocolate cake and probably the best cheesecake ever ever, with real home made strawberry jam on top.Could it get any better?
All the he best purveyors of Portuguese product were there.This was surely the best foodie experience any city can offer.
Well-known stores like Conserveira Nacional and Garrafeira Nacional as well as Arcádia (one of the oldest chocolatiers in Portugal, founded in the 1930s in Porto, which still makes some of the best chocolates in the country), Santini (probably the best ice-cream in the world! and the new ones that are making an impression around Lisbon such as Sea MePrego da Peixaria (some absolutely delicious modern takes on the Portuguese prego.The traditional steak sandwiches are there, but now introducing the more modern salmon or tuna sandwiches with an eye opening option of having it served in a black bread bun.I could enthuse forever.I was beside myself with excitement discovering this truly inspiring space.I would have liked to have tried Lab by Asian Sushi Café,there was so much more to be explored and I am sure this venture will go from strength to strength.
This is the perfect place to grab a quick bite or linger and delve deeper into a gourmet experience.
Mercado da Ribeira won't be a best kept secret for long. The in your face Time Out Lisboa branding tells you that much.
Time Out Mercado da Ribeira
Sunday to Wednesday from 10am to midnight
Thursday to Saturday from 1am to 2am