This delicious, light and nutritious salad is based on a staple food you can find in any beachside café, up and down the west coast of Portugal. Fantastic for lunch, when Summer and lunching al fresco are no longer distant realities.
Salada de polvo / Octopus Salad
500 gr of octopus
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 celery stick
100 gr of pomodorino tomatoes
2 small cooked beetroots
50 gr of fresh mint
50 gr of fresh dill
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper to season
Place the fresh octopus in a pan with water, season with salt & pepper and cook for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the pan and chop it in pieces. Set aside.
De-seed the peppers and chop them in small chunks, followed by the celery, beetroot and tomatoes cut in half. Place everything inside a bowl together with the octopus. Drizzle with the olive oil and the lemon juice. Add the lemon zest and the finely chopped mint and dill. Season with salt & pepper. Serve cold.
This Saturday morning I woke up to a lovely surprise. My black eyed bean with harissa dip I created a few weeks ago which was inspired by the dish of “feijão fradinho” my grandmother used to make, was published on the Saturday Cook supplement of one of the papers I favour the most: The Guardian. Here’s below the recipe for this delicious dip.
Black eyed bean & harissa dip
400g can of black-eyed beans, drained
1 garlic clove
½ small red onion
30g flat-leaf parsley
½ tsp harissa paste, or to taste
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Place the solid ingredients in the food processor, followed by the lemon juice and olive oil. Whizz until it resembles a coarse yet homogeneous paste.
2 Season to taste, scoop into a bowl and serve with toasted sourdough bread.
Artichokes are like flowers. Intricate, textured, architectural and I love their hearts. And because today we should all be ‘loved up’ in the heart department, I present you with a tatin made with artichoke hearts, the tender, velvety centres of this exquisite vegetable. Their slight sharpness works perfectly with the sweet caramel of the onions I have added.
Artichoke & onion Tatin / Tatin de alcachofras e cebola
300 gr of shortcrust pastry
4 artichoke hearts (each one cut in half)
1 red onion
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of sugar
Salt & pepper
1 twig of thyme
Pre-heat the oven at 190 C.
Place a frying pan (with a metal handle) on a medium heat with the olive oil. Slice the onions and fry them in the oil. Add the artichoke hearts and sprinkle with the sugar, salt, pepper, and thyme twig.
Roll out the shortcrust pastry on top of a floured clean surface and cut out a disc of pastry of the size of the base of the pan. Place the disc on top of the artichokes and put the pan in the oven, bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.
As I recently received a parcel from Portugal with one of my favourite cheeses, (From the island of Saint Jorge in the Azores archipelago, made with cow’s milk and slightly peppery), I decided to add some of it into my tomato muffins. These are perfect as a snack or even as a meal, next to a good green salad. Enjoy, they are über morish!
Queques de tomate e queijo de S. Jorge / Tomato & Saint Jorge cheese muffins
Ingredients (makes 9)
250 gr of self-raising flour
1 tsp of baking powder
3 tbsp of olive oil
3 tbsp of full fat milk
50 gr of grated Saint Jorge cheese (alternatively use a Spanish Manchego)
1 tsp of pesto
120 gr of can chopped tomatoes
Salt & Pepper for seasoning
Pre-heat the oven at 180 C.
Butter a muffin tray and line each compartment with baking paper. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs with the chopped tomatoes, add the milk, the grated cheese, olive oil and pesto. Mix well. Fold the flour and the baking powder. Season with salt & pepper.
Fill the muffin tray with the batter and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, until the muffins have risen. Speak the centre of one with a knife point, which should come out dry, when they are done.
Many years ago, when I came to study in the UK I met someone who later became like a sister to me, Maria. A fellow designer she is from one of the most charming and delightful towns in Portugal, a place where early 20th century European aristocracy used to sunbathe: Cascais. As students, homesick and penniless, we used to find cheap culinary ways which worked as reminders of the languid and sun filled days, the hearty cuisine, our homeland. These biscuits are one of the recipes I have learnt from her, evocative treats from her hometown. I have slightly twisted the original recipe by adding some chopped blanched almonds which look like broken corals on top of the Atlantic sand.
Areias com corais / Sands with corals
160 gr of plain flour
80gr of caster sugar
200 gr of unsalted, soft butter
Grind of 1 lemon
30 gr of chopped blanch almonds
Pre-heat the oven at 180 C.
In a bowl, mix the butter with the sugar. Add the flour, and with your hands, mix everything until it resembles a soft, homogeneous dough. Make small balls of dough, and roll them on the chopped blanched almonds. Place the balls on top of a baking tray, lined with some baking parchment. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are golden.
Remove from the oven and let the biscuits cool completely before serving them, either with some citronella tea or black filter coffee, as I favour it.
To start the month, on this cold yet relaxed Sunday, I decided today to cook this quick snack for lunch. Delicious, pungent albeit light. A fantastic spread on top of some crusty whomeal bread.
Chunky smoked mackerel pâté / Pâté grosseiro de cavala fumada
300 gr of smoked mackerel
50 gr of finely sliced iceberg lettuce
50 gr of pitted, chopped black olives
2 tbsp of mayo
Pinch of black pepper
Slices of toasted, good wholemeal bread
USing your fingers, shred the smoked mackerel.
In a bowl, place all the ingredients, topped by the mayo. Mix everything very well until it resembles a coarse yet homogeneous paste. Spread it on top of toasted wholeameal toasted bread.