‘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.
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
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.
As I have had some friends visiting from Paris for dinner I decided to present them with a variation of a dessert they know very well. :-)
6 flat peaches (no stones) and cut in half
150 gr of butter
170gr of light brown sugar
1 tsp of vanilla essence
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp of elderflower liqueur
270gr of good quality puff pastry
Pre-heat the oven at 190 C.
In a deep frying pan with a metal handle, melt the butter with the sugar. When it starts to slightly caramelise place the peaches skins down and let them cook for 8 minutes. Add the vanilla essence. Remove from the hob and sprinkle with the zest of lemon and the liqueur.
Roll out the pastry onto a flat surface and cut a circle which will fully cover the diameter of the pan. Tuck the pastry into the peaches and place in the oven for 15-18 minutes or until it has risen and became golden.
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla icecream or with a spoonful of creme fraiche.
Sunday evening dinner, healthy and tasty. Next to some roast chicken leftovers.
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
1 yellow pepper
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of za’taar
1 broccoli head (steamed)
Pre- heat the oven at 200 C.
Deseed the pepper, chop all vegetables in chunks and place everything in a tray. Sprinkle with the olive oil and the za’taar, add the pepper and salt and mix well. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes. At the end fold in the broccoli and serve either warm or cold.
Fig and quince loaf with orange blossom drizzle
This loaf is inspired by a cake recipe from the Azores. The sweetness of the fig beautifully contrasts the scent and zest of the sticky blossom drizzle. Very pleased that this recipe made it to the Cook supplement of The Guardian!
Makes 1 loaf
250g soft, dry figs
100g quince paste (membrillo)
80g caster sugar
100g soft, unsalted butter
1 tbsp treacle
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
50ml whole milk
For the orange drizzle
1 orange, juiced
1 tbsp honey
40g caster sugar
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and grease and line a loaf tin. Separate the eggs in two bowls. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and set aside.
2 Whizz the figs and quince paste in the processor to make a smooth paste.
3 Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the fig puree, the treacle and a pinch of salt, and mix well.
4 Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Slowly add the milk. Fold in the egg whites.
5 Transfer this batter to the tin and bake for about 30-40 minutes. When the loaf is ready a skewer will come out dry. Remove from the oven and cool.
6 Put all the drizzle ingredients into a small pan, mix well and simmer for 10 minutes on a medium heat. Leave to cool before drizzling on top of the loaf.
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.