Monkfish, chouriço and piquant pepper kebab/Espetada de tamboril, pimentos piquanté e chouriço

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A delicious, light kebab which takes me straight back to those hot Portuguese summers. The meaty nature of the monkfish works very well with the chouriço whilst the peppers add a touch of spiciness which brings all flavours together. I drizzle these with chopped coriander soaked in olive oil for a touch of freshness.

Monkfish, chouriço and piquant pepper kebab

Ingredients

600gr monkfish tail (ask your fishmonger to remove the spice and cut it in cubes)
150 gr of chouriço (sliced)
100 gr of piquant peppers
Small bunch of coriander (chopped)
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & pepper

 

Preparation

Pre-heat your oven at 180 ºC.

Using a couple of skewers, skew the fish, followed by the chouriço and the peppers. Repeat until all ingredients have finished. 
Drizzle with one tbsp of olive oil and bake season with salt & pepper. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

In a bowl, place the coriander, the lemon juice, the oil and mix well. Serve each kebab, drizzle with the coriander salsa.

 

Amendoada / Almond brittle

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This recipe is a variation of the original which comes from Alentejo, in the south of Portugal. Highly sweet yet it is perfectly served with an espresso after a meal. As a child I used to see it in fairgrounds or village-fetes, all piled up like amber tiles. I have added lavender which complements the honey flavour extremely well.

Amendoada / Almond brittle

Ingredients

200ml of honey
150 gr of chopped almonds
Grind of a lemon
1 twig of lavender ( or a 1/4 tbsp of lavender essence

Preparation

Place the honey in a pan and bring it to the boil until it starts to darken, as in caramel. Fold in the almonds and let it all cook for another 3 minutes. Add the lemon grind and the lavender and remove from the heat.

Line a shallow baking tray with parchment and pour the honey mixture on top of it. Let it cool completely until it sets. With a sharp knife cut the almond brittle in losanges and serve.

Tuna in ‘Cebolada’ / Atum de Cebolada

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One of my favourite dishes is the one I am presenting tonight. Eating this takes me back to those hot summer evenings in the south of Portugal, or to mid-week lunches in my grandmother house. She would serve it with boiled potatoes in their skins, with the sauce dripping into the bottom of each plate, to later be soaked with a slice of sourdough. Tonight we had it with delicious, crispy green beans.

Tuna in ‘Cebolada’ 

Serves 2 

Ingredients

2 fresh tuna steaks
200 gr of santini tomatoes (chopped)
1 red onion (thinly slices)
1 bird eye chill (pi-piri chill)
Splash of vinegar
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

Steamed green beans to serve.

Preparation

In a frying pan, slowly fry the onions in the olive oil. Add chilli, the chopped tomatoes and the garlic and slowly cook until everything is very soft. Pour in the vinegar. Season with salt & pepper. Place the tuna steaks on top of the tomato sauce and cook them each side for around 3-4 minutes. Serve on top of the steamed green beans with a few tablespoons of the sauce on top.

 

 

 

 

Asparagus with smoked pork belly & salsa verde/Espargos, barriga de porco fumada e salsa verde

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The beautiful and sculptural asparagus, one of my favourite vegetables, is now in season!
Check this simple yet scrumptious light recipe which works at treat as an accompaniment to something
more substancial or just on its own

Ingredients

Serves 4 people

500 gr fresh asparagus
100 gr of smoked pork belly (or pancetta, chopped in small slices)
1 small bunch of fresh parsley (chopped)
1 garlic clove (minced)
2 tsp of olive oil
Salt & pepper

 

Preparation

Steam the asparagus for 3-5 minutes. Rinse them in ice cold water, drain them and set aside.
In a small pan fry the pork belly slices until crisp. Set aside.
For the salsa verde place the parsley in a bowl, add the garlic and the oil. Mix well.
Plate the asparagus with the pork belly slices on top and sprinkled with the salsa verde.

 

Saltcod ceviche

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Saltcod is probably at the top of the list when it comes to Portuguese staple foodstuffs. My grandmother always used to say that she would be less of a cook if she didn’t have cod steaks in her pantry. There are thousands of recipes which use saltcod. Today I decided to cook it in a different way – in lemon and lime juice!

Saltcod ceviche

Ingredients

500 gr of saltcod ( buy it shredded from any Iberian delicatessen, then soak overnight in cold water)
juice of 2 limes
Juice of 2 lemons
2 ripe tomatoes (chopped)
1 red chilli
1 red onion (chopped)
Small bunch of coriander
Salt & Pepper

Preparation

1 – After soaking it overnight, drain the cod and place it in a bowl. Pour in the juice of the lemons and the limes and mix well. Add the chilli, the chopped onions and tomatoes, the coriander and season with a very small amount of salt and pepper. Mix everything very well.

2 – Place in the fridge for a minimum of three hours. Serve with salad and chunks of bread which will soak all the juices from your plate.

Freekeh with spinach

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I am in love with this nutty, tasty Arabian cereal. So versatile as an accompaniment to salads, stews or in its own. Tonight I cooked it with some spinach. Hearty. Delicious.

Freekeh with spinach

Ingredients
300 gr of Freekeh
500 ml of vegetable stock
150 gr os spinach leaves
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

Preparation

In a frying pan, fry the fennel seeds in the oil, add the spinach until is soft. Add in the Freekeh and mix everything well. Pour in the stock, the cinnamon stick and season with salt & pepper.
Let it cook until is soft to the taste but still with bite. (Around 15 mins, add more water if needed so it does not dry out).

Almondegas

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‘Almondegas’ is the Portuguese word for meatballs. My mum used to make them as a treat, sometimes at the weekends. She would add chorizo into the mince for extra flavour. I have also included porcini mushrooms which add and extra smokey dimensions into such a simple yet delicious dish.

Ingredients

For the meatballs
400 gr of mince beef
100 gr of dark sourdough (approx 3 slices)
80 gr of chorizo
1 beaten egg
15 gr of porcini mushrooms
2 bird eye chills
1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder
Salt & pepper

For the sauce
A can of good quality tomatoes
300 ml of water
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper

Preparation

1- Soak the mushrooms in boiling water and set aside until they become soft. Place the bread, the chorizo, the chillies into a food processor and whizz everything until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the mushrooms (keeping the water in which they have soaked) and whizz again. Set aside.

2 – In a bowl place the the mince, add the breadcrumb mixture and the beaten egg and fold everything together until is all well mixed. season with salt & pepper. Make individual balls of approximately 3cm in diameter and set aside.

3 – Brown the meatballs, both sides, in a pan with the oil and add the garlic and the bay leaf. Pour the can of tomatoes on top of the meatballs, add the water, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Let it simmer for 30-45 minutes. If it dries out quickly, keeping adding small amounts of water.

4 – Serve on top of a lemoney couscous or simply cooked pasta.