28 December 2008

25 December 2008

21 December 2008

Wild rabbit hunter's style


Two steps in the preparation of this yet simple and tasty dish.
A wonderful dish to eat in Autumn/Winter time, and very popular from north to south of Portugal.

First, you must prepare the wild rabbit for cooking with a marinade. The portuguese marinade for this dish, and other meat dishes, is called "vinha d'alhos" ("vinha" for wine and "alhos" for garlic", but it contains a few more ingredients). Then, after leaving the meat to marinate overnight, you can cook it.

1. Ingredients:
- for the "vinha d'alhos": 3 garlic cloves chopped finely, wine (You can use red or white wine; I usually use red wine for red meat and game, and white wine for poultry), bay leaves, salt and black pepper (I rather use black pepper with red meat and game, and white pepper with poultry).
- for cooking the dish: 150/200 g of margarine/spread, 1 1/2 onion, 2 garlic cloves medium chopped, 1 red chilli pepper finely sliced (try to create long strips), 1 Knorr (or other brand) beef stock cube, 4-5 canned tomatoes, 2 cloves, vinha d'alhos.

2. Preparing the "vinha d'alhos": In a large and deep recipient, put the bay leaves and 150 ml of red cooking wine. Sprinkle some garlic, salt and pepper. Put the rabit on top of it and repeat the process. Cover the recipient with some kitchen foil and leave it to rest in the fridge overnight.

3. Cooking: Put 100 g of margarine/spread on a pan, let it melt and add the chopped onion and garlic. Let it gain some colour and add the red chilli pepper. Mix gently with a wooden spoon and then add the beef stock cube. Mix again and add the canned tomatoes. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes and then reserve.

In another pan, melt about 50/100 g of margarine/spread and fry the rabbit. Turn the meat every 3 minutes with a tweezer to prevent burning it. This process is to give the rabbit a bit of a roasted flavour. It should take no more than 10 minutes.

Once you're finished, put the other pan back on the stove and add the rabbit.

Let it sweat, pouring the "vinha d'alhos" on top of it (use a colander to separate the solid bits out of the marinade).

Let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes, always turning the meat every 5 minutes.

Serve with some basmati rice and/or homemade chips.

20 December 2008

Yogurt cake


Usually, my recipe takes a little while longer to do. But since I wanted to get the job done faster, I used a friend's technique and the result at least in looks wasn't too bad. Well, it tasted nice also.

1. Ingredients: 3 big eggs, 1 raspberry yogurt (I usually use natural or banana yogurt, which seems impossible to get here in England :( unfortunately), 1 measure* of milk, 1 measure of oil, 2 measures of sugar, 3 measures of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

* the measure is the one of the yogurt cup.

2. Cooking: Mix all ingredients together with a hand mixer and put it in the oven for about 25 minutes.

19 December 2008

Bean and Meat Soup


This soup doesn't have a name really. It's my mother-in-law's recipe. One could say it's a mixture of ingredients and their flavours with the soul of Alentejo. And it craves for a willing stomach.

Bottom line: extremely easy to cook, a full meal and definitely tasty!

1. Ingredients: 1,5 to 2 litres of water, 300 g of red beans (do not use canned beans), 3 carrots sliced, 150 g of macaroni, 200 g of pork and/or turkey meat, 2 big white onions chopped, leafy spring greens, 1 chorizo sliced (0,5 mm), 1 teaspoon of paprika in powder, 1 handful of fresh parsley, cooking salt

2. Preparing & Cooking: Bring the water to the boil in a steam pan, add 1 tablespoon of cooking salt, the beans and 1 onion leaving them to cook for about 20-25 minutes. Reserve about 100 g of beans and put them aside. Make a light purée with the hand blender with the contents of the steam pan. Then, add the carrots, the meat cut in small cubes (2 x 2 cm), although you can choose to cook the meat separately (stir fry for about 5 minutes in a pan with some margarine), the parsley roughly chopped, the paprika, the macaroni and the chourizo. Let everything cook on a low temperature for another 20-25 minutes.

18 December 2008

Leek soup


1. Ingredients: 1,5 litres of water, leek (2/3 big leeks or half a 350 g of frozen leek), 2 carrots chopped, 3-4 big red skinned potatoes chopped, 1 big white onion chopped, 3 garlic gloves chopped, 1 tablespoon of salt, 5 tablespoons of olive oil

2. Preparing & Cooking: Bring the water to the boil and add the garlic to start adding flavour to the water. Add the carrots, potatoes, onion and leek, and let them cook for about 20-25 minutes until becoming completely tender. Reserve for about 5 minutes to cool down, and then make a purée with a regular hand blender. Bring to the boil and add a few bits of leek along with the olive oil and let it cook for another 10 minutes.

10 December 2008

Creamy gammon with new potatoes and spinach


1. Ingredients: 3/4 new potatoes, gammon, large spinach leaves, 1 garlic clover, cream, chives, tarragon leaves, margarine or spread, salt, olive oil.

2. Preparing & Cooking: Melt about 3 tablespoons of margarine or spread (I always use Sainsbury's Olive Gold Reduced Fat Spread), and stir fry on high temperature the gammon steaks (make sure they're sliced finely). When fried, lower the temperature and add the cream. Sprinkle some chopped chives. Meanwhile, bring water to the boil with salt and tarragon, and cook the new potatoes chopped in quarters. When cooked, add the spinach leaves for 2 minutes. Rinse the water and plate the potatoes, topping them with the spinach leaves. Chop one garlic clove very finely and sprinkle it on top of the spinach leaves along with some olive oil.

05 December 2008

Gammon and green lentils with cheese


1. Ingredients: 50 g of blood pudding, 100 g of green lentils, 30-50 g of herbs goats cheese, olive oil, 1 spring onion, 2 cherry tomatoes, margarine
2. Preparing & Cooking: Stir fry some chunks of gammon in a pan covered with olive oil, and when the gammon changes a bit its colour, add the blood pudding chopped in tiny bits (I used the portuguese blood pudding which is "morcela"). In another pan, melt 1 tablespoon of margarine, and add the lentils. Beware that the lentils must be quite tender (try to cook them beforehand, preferably in a pressure pan). Add the bits of cheese and let it melt.

Plate both the gammon and the lentils in quarters or in a half moon style. Serve with some sliced spring onion and cherry tomatoes.

01 December 2008

Seafood Macaroni

1. Ingredients: 200 g of macaroni; 2 baby orange peppers; 1 white onion; 300 g of baby spinach leaves; 250 g of frozen seafood; olive oil; cream; salt

2. Preparing & Cooking: Boil the macaroni according to packet's boiling instructions (I used a brand from Sainsbury's which takes 12 minutes because it's 100% durum wheat) with a pinch of salt. In a pan, stir fry the medium sliced onion and orange peppers in olive oil (enough to cover the entire pan), and the seafood (already unfrozen and drained). When the macaroni is cooked, add the baby spinach leaves for a quick cook, and drain. When the seafood is fairly tender (do not overcook), add the macaroni with the slightly cooked spinach leaves. Finish with some cream (about a tea cup of it), add a little bit more of salt, and serve.

01 November 2008

Duck à l'orange with potato salad


There are many recipes of duck à l'orange. I decided to go with my gut instincts and do it my way, as I have for all others recipes I've posted so far in this blog (unless the author is quoted properly).
Get your self a whole duck and prepare it for seasoning the day before cooking it. It's always tastier that way. I decided to keep the seasoning simple, as you can see on the picture below (to zoom, click on the picture).

Next step: stuffing the duck to enrich it and add flavour.

After 24 hours, take the duck from the fridge and rub some lard on its skin to enhance the flavour while cooking.

Time to put the duck in the oven, in a tray with some olive oil, at a temperature of 180º-200º C. The duck can take about one hour and a half to cook and roast properly. Time to prepare some extra ingredients:

  1. Ingredients: 2 juicy oranges; 3 tablespoons of unrefined demerara sugar; 1 tablespoon of Cointreau

  2. Preparing & Cooking: get the juice from two oranges and pour some over the duck twice (after 30 minutes and then after another 30 minutes of cooking). Keep some juice for the sirup. Start preparing an orange sirup to pour over the duck in order to caramelise by the final 15 minutes of cooking. Pick a small deep pan, throw in the demerara sugar and wait until it starts to melt. Add the remaining orange juice (about a tea cup). Whisk gently and when the sugar is completly dissolved, add the Cointreau. Keep stirring for a minute and reserve. Check the duck. If fully cooked, turn the oven's roasting button and pour the sirup gently over the duck. Roast for 15 minutes. Serve (you can decorate the duck with some orange slices).


  1. Ingredients: 5 new potatos; broccoli; cauliflower; cooking salt; olive oil; chopped parsley
  2. Cooking & Seasoning: Slice the potatoes into small cubes, and arrange the broccoli and the califlower in tiny bits. Boil them for 15-20 minutes, with a pinch of cooking salt. Drain the water, and put the mix in a salad bowl. Sprinkle a good handful of parsley and pour a good amunt of olive oil. Serve.

31 October 2008

Vegetable Pie


  1. Ingredients: 1 puff pastry sheet (I decided to buy it in the supermarket rather than doing it myself. I used Jus Rol puff pastry I bought from ASDA but any other brand will do); 1 mini orange pepper; 2/3 mature tomatoes; mushrooms (fresh or tinned ones); 4/5 green olives finely sliced; 1/3 of courgette sliced in straws lengthwise; spring onions (just the green part) sliced in rings; 1 mozarella cheese sliced into 6-8 halves; chopped parsley; margarine; bread crumbs; olive oil; 1 egg
  2. Preparing & Cooking: Lay the pastry down in a baking pan, previously greased with margarine and sprinkled with bread crumbs. Make sure the pastry fits within the pan. Try to mould the borders. Start covering as much surface as possible with the tomato slices. It will be your base. Then, in an organized way (try to create a star effect), add the orange pepper, the courgette, the olives and the spring onion slices. Fill the remaining spaces with the mushrooms. On top of it, place all mozarella slices in circle plus 1 in the middle. When placing all these ingredients, try not making it too busy - it's a pie not a pizza, and since the pastry will grow in the oven, you don't want ingredients to spill over. Season with a sprinkle of olive oil and some parsley on top of the mozarella slices. Brush the borders of the pie with egg. Use the rest of the egg in the pie itself (fill in empty spaces equally). Bake in the oven for 20 minutes maximum. Serve.

30 October 2008

Raspberry Desert


  1. Ingredients: raspberries; a light dairy cream (I use Anchor's dairy cream, but any brand will do); chocolate sprinkles; 1 teaspoon of strawberry jam; sugar
  2. Preparing: In a small desert bowl, put the raspberries. Sprinkle some caster or white sugar in case you like it sweeter, add the cream in circles creating a swirl effect. Then, drop a teaspoon of strawberry jam in the top middle and finish with some chocolate sprinkles. Put in the fridge before serving.

29 October 2008

Sausages with stir-fried vegetables


  1. Ingredients: 4 fresh sausages; 4-8 slices of smoked ham; 1 red oninon finely sliced; parsley; a few pinches of white pepper; olive oil
  2. Cooking and Seasoning: Pinch lightly the skin of the sausages and rub them with the pepper. Wrap them with 1 or 2 slices of smoked ham and a bit of parsley leaves. Stitch with a toothpick. Put it in a tray in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, at medium heat. Serve.
  1. Ingredients: broccoli; spring onion sliced in small rings; sweet red pepper sliced; a few drops of balsamic vinegar; herbs salt; olive oil
  2. Cooking and Seasoning: Just cover a saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil, add the vegetables and let them stir-fry, at medium-high heat. Pour a bit of balsamic vinegar, a pinch of herbs salt and serve. You can cook them for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the cooker heat and on how you like your veggie - tender or slightly cooked.

28 October 2008

Gratinated mushrooms


  1. Ingredients: 4 big mushrooms (I bought them at Sainsbury's, which is for me the freshest place to buy vegetables and fruit);1 mozarella cheese (any brand, they're all good!); 4 spring oninons chopped in small rings; 1/4 of chouriço chopped in tiny little bites (I had to use Spanish chouriço, instead of Portuguese chouriço, because it's the only one available around here); a few pinches of oregano (fresh or dried - I used dried and it works really well, but one can also chop some fresh oregano leaves); olive oil
  2. Cooking and Seasoning: Wash the mushrooms. Dry them with some paper or cloth. Turn them upside down and start making 4 small incisions, cross type, very superficial. The purpose is to allow the mushroom water to come out better, i e, without the mushroom colapsing too much, and also for the mushroom to absorb better the seasoning and flavour of the ingredients that go along with them. Put the spring onion and the chouriço in an anti-adherent frying-pan and wait until th echouriço starts releasing its juice and the onion becomes tender. Then, with the help of a tweezer or a teaspoon, place the chouriço and the spring onion inside the cavities of the mushroom. Then, pour some of the available chouriço's drops of juice on the cavities. Cover the mushrooms with a 0,5 mm slice of mozarella (1 mozarella is enough to cover 4 medium-sized mushrooms). Sprinkle with the oregano and a thin drop of olive oil. Put the mushrooms on the oven and let them cook for about 10-15 minutes, a turn on the grill to gratinate a bit.

27 October 2008

Spinach soup

SPINACH SOUP as suggested by Elvira's Bistrot

  1. Ingredients: 1,5 kg of potatoes, peeled and chopped in cubes (I used 4 big potatoes - the ones I used were those with which jacket potatoes are done); 200 g of spinach leaves; a handful of fresh parsley; 200 g of fine slices of bacon cut in small slices; 2 cooked eggs chopped; 4 spoons of olive oil; 2 litres of water; salt (according to taste)
  2. Cooking: Using a deep saucepan, bring the water to the boil and add the potatoes. Then, add some salt, the olive oil and the parsley. Cook for 20 minutes over medium-high heat. Grill the bacon slices in dry, in an anti-adherent frying-pan, until they become golden and crispy. Drain on an absorbent paper and reserve. Remove the saucepan from the cooker. Blend the soup with a liquidiser/food processor or a hand blender until it becomes homogeneous and velvety. Put the saucepan back on the cooker, and bring to the boil. Add the spinach leaves and check the salt to your taste. Cook for 5 minutes. Distribute the soup in a deep bowl or plate. Decorate with the chopped eggs and the grilled bacon.

26 October 2008

Lambs lettuce salad; Toasts with garlic and pepper mayonnaise



  1. Ingredients: 4 leaves of lettuce chopped in julienne; a handful of lambs lettuce; 4 cherry tomatos chopped in half; a small slice of cucumber chopped in sticks; 2 spoons of walnuts, crushed roughly with the hands; 2 spoons of olive oil; 1 spoon of balsamic vinegar (I'm using the Balsamic Vinegar di Modena, which is very soft and was bought at ALDI for only 99 p); herbs salt (this is the one I've been using for years and I do prefer it to regular salt; it's possible to buy it both in Portugal and UK, but not in regular supermarkets);
  2. Dressing: Put the ingredients in a bowl. Season with the herbs salt and pour the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Mix well the ingredients and serve in a plate with 2 slices of toasted.


  1. Ingredients: 2 slices of Polish bread toasted (on sale on Polish stores); 4/5 spoons of light mayonaise; 1 garlic clove finely chopped; 1 baby orange pepper; 1 small mature tomato; balsamic vinegar
  2. Cooking & Seasoning: Cut both the tomato and the pepper into 2 halves and grill them with a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar. When cold, chop them finely and mix them with the mayonnaise in a small bowl. Add the garlic and batter it with a tea spoon until it gets a smooth consistency. Put in the fridge until serving time.

Roast chicken drumsticks w/ mashed potato


  1. Ingredients: 10 chicken drumsticks from Sainsbury's (cost: 1,88 £); 5 garlic cloves finely chopped + 1/2 of a lemon juice + 1 tsp of white pepper powder + 1 tsp of cooking salt; olive oil (ingredients from the cupboard)

  2. Seasoning: Smash all ingredients in a mortar or electric food mill. Spread the paste, massaging the drumsticks so they absorb it well.

  3. Cooking: Pour some olive oil on a tray (enough to cover it roughly) and place the drumsticks in. Cook them at 180º C for about 25-30 minutes. Turn the roasting on by minute 20, for about 10 minutes. Roast both sides of the drumsticks.


  1. Ingredients: 6 new potatoes finely chopped (I use the Nicer Dicer); 1/2 a mug of milk; 1 tsp of dried tarragon; 1 tsp of salt; 1 spoon of butter; 1/2 tsp of nutmeg; 1 slice of Gouda cheese from LIDL.

  2. Seasoning: Bring the water to the boil, add the potatoes, the salt and the tarragon. Let it cook till the potatoes become fully tender (5-8 minutes).

  3. Cooking: Drain the potatoes. Melt the butter on the saucepan where you cooked the potatoes, add the potatoes and blend. Start mashing with the help of a potato masher. Pour the milk in small bits, and add the cheese slice and the nutmeg. With the help of a wood spoon, blend it altogether. Spread the mash in a non sticky tray, sprinkle some fine bread crumbs and put it in the oven to roast for about 10 minutes.