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.