One of my favourite Portuguese desserts is arroz doce (rice pudding), so when a friend discovered it on the wonderful Sami’s Colourful World blog, I had to make sure this was the next in my series of Portuguese recipes.
Arroz doce is a very typical Portuguese dessert, found in the majority of restaurants. It is flavoured with cinnamon and can be eaten hot or cold. My first experience of it was when our Portuguese neighbours brought a large bowlful upstairs for us as a gift, as part of a wonderful international food gift exchange that we had going with them until they moved away.
The recipe below is reproduced from Sami’s blog, for which she has kindly granted permission. It is quick and easy to make and results in a wonderful, creamy dessert that we ate following Sunday dinner. As with many of the best and most traditional Portuguese dishes, arroz doce is extremely cheap to make. It uses store cupboard ingredients – the only thing I had to buy to make this was a single lemon.
The left over egg whites from this recipe can be used to make meringue – on this occasion my mother used them to make a delightful lemon meringue pie.
This is definitely one Portuguese recipe that will become one of my staples for entertaining family and friends.
125 gr short grain rice (I used risotto rice)
Pinch of salt
1 stick cinnamon
Lemon rind strips
150 gr sugar
3 egg yolks
Grated lemon rind
1. Boil the rice in salted water for 10 minutes.
2. Warm the milk with the cinnamon stick and a few strips of lemon rind. Strain the rice and add the warm milk and simmer until rice is cooked.
3. Add the sugar and butter and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
4. Beat the egg yolks in a cup and add a bit of the warm rice mixture, mix well and add to the pan.
5. Remove the lemon rind and cinnamon stick and add some grated lemon rind, then simmer for 2-3 minutes stirring continuously.
6. Pour into a shallow platter or into individual bowls. Decorate with ground cinnamon and enjoy!!
I had never eaten octopus before moving to Portugal and was surprised by the great quantity of Portuguese recipes that contained it when I moved here. I spent my early months in Portugal convinced that I was allergic to it, as well as being put off by its appearance. Gradual experimentation, however, proved that not only did I not have an allergy to octopus, it was actually a really succulent and tasty ingredient.
It still took over three years before I dared to try and cook octopus on my own. I used a recipe from Piri Piri Starfish: Portugal Found by Tessa Kiros, which is probably my most-used Portuguese cookbook, whether for main dishes, delightful desserts or just quick snacks. I would recommend it for anyone who is experimenting with Portuguese cooking. You can get it here:
I had worried that the long cooking time for this recipe would result in a rather chewy meal, but the method of slow-roasting the tentacles in a lovely red wine sauce resulted in soft, tender octopus that went down extremely well when served as a family meal (the recipe below was enough for five of us).
As with all my favourite Portuguese recipes this is best served with slices of fresh bread to mop up the rich sauce, and as usual I made a few tweaks to the recipe based on personal preference and what I had in the store cupboard.
700g frozen octopus, pre-cleaned and cut into pieces
Big glug extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp dried parsley
600g chopped plum tomatoes (tinned)
Small pinch piri piri chili flakes
750g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
250ml red wine
1. Defrost the octopus and give it a quick rinse, then chop it into chunks of about 1 inch.
2. Heat the oven to 200C.
3. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes. Season and simmer for about 5 minutes, then stir in most of the parsley and all of the chili flakes.
4. Put the octopus and potatoes in an oven-proof dish and pour over the tomato mixture and wine. Prod everything around a bit to ensure it is coated and well mixed. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for an hour.
5. Remove the foil and cook for a further hour, turning the oven down to 170C.
6. Scatter the top with remaining parsley and serve.
Feijoada is one of my favourite Portuguese meals. It is a hearty and filling bean stew that you can find numerous variations of across the country, as well as in Brazil and many former Portuguese colonies.
Feijoada is often made with pork, but I’ve also tried some wonderful seafood versions. It is the kind of dish that each family has their own recipe for, as the ability to use different types of beans, parts of pig or combinations of seafood mean that there are a huge number of variables. It can be as cheap or as expensive to make as you like, depending upon your chosen ingredients.
I made a fairly inexpensive version, using two types of Portuguese sausage (chouriço and linguiça) and two types of beans. The chouriço gave the dish a wonderful smoky flavour and a deep, rich colour.
I based my recipe on one from the lovely cookbook Portuguese Homestyle Cooking by Ana Patuleia Ortins, with a couple of variations as I went along. The result was well received – I served it with a hunk of crusty Portuguese bread and by the end of the meal the pan had been all but licked clean.
As with a lot of popular recipes in Portugal, this dish turns relatively simple and cheap ingredients into something filling and delicious. The quantities listed below happily fed five of us.
800g tin white beans
400g tin kidney beans
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 very ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp paprika
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
700g mixed chouriço and linguiça
¼ cup red wine
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Water, as needed
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion until golden. Add the tomatoes, paprika, garlic and bay leaf, then simmer over a low heat, covered, for about 15 minutes.
2. Squish the contents of the pan a bit with a wooden spoon, then add the mixed sausage and cook uncovered for a few minutes, before adding the wine and cooking for a couple more minutes.
3. Add the potatoes to the pan, along with enough water to cover them. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
4. Stir in the white beans and ensure they are covered (you can add a little more water if needed). Simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Stir in the kidney beans and simmer for a further 15 minutes, then serve.
Note: the white beans should have pretty much dissolved by the time you serve this, which adds a lovely thick and creamy texture to the dish.
I am making a concerted effort this year to cook more Portuguese recipes. I’m not great in the kitchen, but having lived in Portugal for over three years now, it’s time I learned to cook more Portuguese food. I plan on cooking one Portuguese recipe a week over the course of 2013, to improve my culinary skills and become a more integrated part of the country I now call home.
My first attempt was to make caril de frango – Portuguese chicken curry. Although it uses curry powder in the recipe, it’s not a hot, spicy curry, but rather a creamy and flavourful one. This is typical of Portuguese food. Other than piri piri chicken, which is flavoured with fiery little chillis, Portuguese food tends not to be hot. Instead, rich combinations of spices create deep flavours, blending the country’s history of Mediterranean and Moorish influences.
I got this recipe from a Margão spice packet set and tweaked it slightly as I went along – partly because I wanted a more saucy curry than the one forming in my pan and partly because I forgot to add the water until later in the recipe than I should have done (I did mention I’m not great in the kitchen!).
This was an encouraging foray into the world of Portuguese cooking. The caril tasted pretty good – almost exactly like the version from our local takeaway that we have eaten several times. It has certainly given me the confidence to attempt to create more Portuguese recipes as the year progresses.
The recipe below said serves four on the packet, but we had it with rice and polished the lot off between the two of us.
450g chicken breast, chopped into pieces
2 onions, chopped
450g assorted vegetables, chopped (I used broccoli and carrots)
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground garlic
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp fresh coriander
1. In a bowl, mix the chicken with about 1 tbsp olive oil, plus half the turmeric, curry powder, ginger and garlic. Season, then cook in a frying pan with one of the onions until the chicken is done. Set aside in a bowl.
2. Using the same pan, fry the other chopped onion in a little oil over a medium heat. After a couple of minutes add the rest of the ground garlic and fry for a few more minutes, until the onion is golden. Add the rest of the turmeric, curry powder and ginger, along with the ground coriander. Stir for a minute, then add the chopped vegetables.
3. Fry the vegetables stirring often for about 15 minutes, until they are almost cooked through, adding a little oil when the pan becomes too dry.
4. Pour in the water and turn up the heat. Season and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chicken and cream. Mix well then allow to bubble for 4-5 minutes.
6. Serve with rice, sprinkling the fresh coriander over the curry once you’ve plated it.
If you are new to Portuguese recipes, this is a lovely one to start with. Why not give it a try and let us know how you get on?
Find out more about our attempts at integration into our new country in our book: Moving to Portugal: How a young couple started a new life in the sun – and how you could do the same.
It is orange season again in the Algarve and my mother-in-law’s orchard is once again laden with more sweet, ripe fruit than we can possibly know what to do with. Returning home with a bag full of oranges, my wife set about finding ways to use them up.
“This recipe is an adaptation of one from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen. It makes a wonderfully light yet sticky cake, similar in texture to Jamaican ginger cake. Having scorched the top of my cake in the oven, I needed to shave the top off and ice it with something, so created an orange butter cream that turned out to complement the cake beautifully.”
Nigella’s book can be found here, and is one that gets pulled down from the shelf frequently in our house:
Orange Cake Ingredients
For the cake:
150g butter, softened
175g dark muscavado sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
100g dark chocolate, melted
150g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Zest of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 orange
For the icing:
Icing sugar (as much as it takes to achieve the desired consistency of the icing)
Zest of 1 orange
To make the orange cake:
1. Line a rectangular loaf tin with baking parchment and heat the oven to 175◦C.
2. Melt the chocolate using a bain-marie (sit it in a bowl placed over a saucepan of gently boiling water).
3. While the chocolate is melting, stir together the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda, then set aside.
4. Beat the butter, sugar and golden syrup using an electric mixer, then pour in the melted chocolate with the mixer still running (keep it running until all the ingredients listed below have been mixed in).
5. Add 1 tbsp of the flour mixture, then 1 egg.
6. Add a further tbsp of the flour mixture, followed by the second egg, then the rest of the flour mixture.
7. Add the orange zest and orange juice. (Although Nigella warned that the mix may curdle at this point, mine didn’t.)
8. Turn off the mixer and pour the cake mix into the lined loaf tin.
9. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the cake begins to scorch on the top, you can cover it with a layer of foil, or do what I did and just shave off the top once the cake has cooled.
10. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
For the butter cream icing:
1. Melt the butter until it is soft but not completely liquid.
2. Use a fork to stir in enough icing sugar to achieve a consistency that is solid enough not to run off the top of the cake, but still spreadable.
3. Stir in the orange zest.
4. Once the cake has cooled completely, dollop the icing on top and then use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
I avoided eating octopus for the first two years that I lived in Portugal, as I suspected, based on a severe stomach ache when I first moved here, that I was allergic to it. Finally, when out for dinner at a restaurant in Santa Luzia (the ‘octopus capital’ of the Algarve), I gave in to temptation and tried some octopus feijoada. It was delicious and, happily, had no ill effects. The world of octopus-eating had suddenly opened up before me.
This recipe is one of my favourites. It has been pinched from a family member who, after eating an amazing octopus salad in Lisbon, decided to recreate the experience at home. It is simple, healthy and delightful served with warmed slices of dense, chewy Portuguese bread.
This serves four as a starter or makes a nice, quick lunch for two.
1 tin Octopus in garlic oil
½ jar Portuguese pickles (mixed cauliflower, gherkin and carrot)
½ red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Handful coriander or parsley, chopped
1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Open the tinned Octopus and drain the oil into a medium sized mixing bowl. Chop the octopus into chunks of about 1 cm (½ inch) and add to the bowl with the oil.
2. Drain the pickles and add to the bowl, along with the red onion, garlic, herbs and white wine vinegar.
3. Season to taste and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if required.
4. Serve and enjoy.
Anyone keen to find more wonderful Portuguese recipes should try this book – one of my favourites:
Piri Piri Starfish: Portugal Found
As you may have read in a recent post at Moving to Portugal, the first of the year’s oranges were harvested in the in-laws orchard a couple of weeks ago, so the time came to find various ways to use the glut of citrus fruit.
We based this orange tart recipe loosely on a lime tart we make quite often. It’s halfway between a tart and a cheesecake, the latter being something we miss from England.
Quantities are approximate, as we do tend to make it up as we go along when we make something like this. The worst that can happen is that it won’t set particularly well, but be assured that if it doesn’t, a sloppy orange tart “mess” is no less delicious.
ORANGE TART INGREDIENTS
Juice of 2 oranges
Zest of 5 oranges
200g Philidelphia or similar soft cheese
300ml condensed milk
200g Digestive biscuits
1 Tbsp honey
200ml lightly whipped cream
Smash up the digestive biscuits then blend the crumbs with the butter and honey over a low heat to make a sticky cheesecake base.
Whisk together the cream, soft cheese, condensed milk, orange juice, and most of the orange zest.
Cram the biscuit base into the bottom of your serving dish. Pour the orange filling mixture over the top.
Scatter the remaining orange zest over the top, then place in the fridge for several hours to set.
Bom Ano Novo (happy new year) to all!
This blog has now been operational for about a year. I have found that the older posts seem to get buried and hard to find, so I thought a recap of some of 2010s most popular posts would be a good way to start the year! Here are a few recipe, restaurant and wine highlights from the first year of Food and Wine Portugal. Enjoy!
Prawn Acorda – The classic Portuguese recipe for a bread based prawn stew.
Caldo Verde – Portuguese recipe for cabbage soup – way better than it might sound and perfect for these chilly evenings.
Portuguese Carrots – A Portuguese starter / couvert dish, frequently served in local restaurants.
Monte Velho Tinto – A well known and much loved Portuguese wine.
Monsaraz Rose – Our favourite pink Portuguese wine for summer, a shame it can be so hard to find!
Fonte de Nico Branco – A tasty Portuguese white wine, at a bargain price.
Dona Barca Portimao – One of our favourites for fish and shellfish in the western Algarve.
Botequim de Mouaria Evora – An incredible discovery in the beautiful Alentejo.
Quatro Aguas Tavira – The place for special occasions in Tavira.
A big thank you to all the people who have read and contributed to this blog and to Moving to Portugal. Here’s to a fantastic 2011 packed with more Portuguese recipes and exciting food and wine discoveries!
Portuguese cakes are a wonderful thing, and these delicate little fairy cakes my wife made for this guest post were certainly sweet and addictive. Although these cakes came from one our favourite books of Portuguese recipes, Piri Piri Starfish, I am not sure I am convinced just HOW Portuguese they are, as they resembled very English buns! Regardless of their heritage they were simple and delicious.
Piri Piri Starfish is a wonderful Portuguese recipe book which I received as a present from my niece, and I highly recommend it as a gift to others. Along with a range of recipes from Portugal it includes great photography, and food-writing that makes touring Portugal and putting on plenty of weight along the way seem hugely appealing.
Over to the wife:
I ended up cooking this recipe because I wanted to cook something that was Portuguese and cheap. It uses only store cupboard ingredients, so cost nothing at all to make, but the resulting fairy cakes were a lovely treat.
The basic recipe is simplicity itself:
85g soft butter
4 tablespoons caster sugar
Few drops vanilla essence
4 tablespoons plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla essence, then whisk in the eggs one by one before mixing in the flour and baking powder. Once you’ve made a nice mixture, divide it up into bun cases, half-filling each one.
This is where the recipe gets interesting. Although you can leave the fairy cakes plain, you can also top them with whatever you have to hand. I used orange zest, lemon zest, roasted hazelnuts and sugar sprinkles – all things I happened to have in the kitchen. Once topped, they bake for 15 minutes at 180°C.
These Portuguese cakes really are simplicity itself to make. I’ve made them from several recipes over the years, but these were definitely some of the tastiest. Plus being able to top them with whatever happens to be in the kitchen makes them a perfect end of the month treat. The only problem I encountered was leaving the plate of cooling buns in front of my husband while I cleared up the kitchen – I was only out of the room for a couple of minutes, but three had disappeared by the time I returned…
The well-known Eton Mess dessert of strawberries, meringue and whipped cream was always a favourite of ours back in England and a great way of using up a glut of strawberries.
We seem to be reaching the tail-end of the seasonal strawberries here in Portugal now and for the first time we have spotted some delicious local raspberries, so these two factors combined to mean it was time to make a local Portuguese variation of this pudding.
I recently purchased a few more of the BBC Good Food “101” Series of recipe books (see links below.) I am a big fan of these books which often end up being amongst my most used cook books. In one of the new books, there was a similar looking dessert using crumbled shortcake biscuits to add the crunch instead of meringue. The “Algarve Mess” was born.
2 large handfuls of berries (we used strawberries and raspberries)
A 250g tub of crème fraiche
2 x mini strawberry fromage frais (we used a local variation of Petit Filous)
Zest of one lemon
Half a packet of shortcake biscuits
Mix the lemon zest, fromage frais and crème fraiche. If you do this gently you can create a pretty swirl effect.
Cut the larger berries into bite size pieces. Break up the biscuits into chunky pieces. Stir the fruit and shortcake into the creamy mix just before serving.
I have published an article over at Suite 101 that includes the classic Eton mess recipe and other variations – click to visit it!