A reinterpretation of a classic dessert my mother used to make when I was young. I love the fluffiness of this flan, perfectly contrasted with the sharpness of the apples. The coconut milks adds another very pleasant flavour dimension.
Flan de Maçã e Coco / Apple & Coconut Flan
6 apples (cored, pealed and chopped in chunks)
50 gr of caster sugar
2 drops of vanilla essence
1 can of condensed milk
1 can of coconut milk
A knob of butter to grease a baking dish
Pre-heat the oven at 180 ºC.
Butter a deep baking dish and place the chopped apples in it. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the condensed milk, the coconut milk and the vanilla essence and nix well. Transfer into the baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and high. It should wobble like gelatine when ready.
Serve warm with a drizzle of cream
On a recent trip to the Algarve, I have rediscovered this traditional dessert. Made with one of Algarve’s best known food products, the almonds, this torte can be found in any local coffee shop or patisserie. Perfect after a sunny lunch or if you feeling naughty, breakfast!
Almond Torte / Torta de Amêndoa do Algarve
For the torte
6 egg whites
250 gr of caster sugar
Zest of 1 orange
200 gr of ground almonds
For the filling
6 egg yolks
150 gr of caster sugar
2 tbsp of water
Pre-heat the even at 150 º C.
Butter a deep baking tray with butter and line it with baking parchment. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until they form glossy soft peaks. Fold in the ground almonds and the orange zest. Transfer to the baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by heating up the sugar with the water until it becomes syrup (approx 8 minutes). Let it cool down and add the egg yolks previously beaten. Mix well and return to a medium heat for another 3-4 minutes until it thickens. Let it cool down completely.
Turn the torte on top of a clear surface, spread the egg filling and slowly roll. Cover with the remain of the filling on top.
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
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
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.
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
200ml of honey
150 gr of chopped almonds
Grind of a lemon
1 twig of lavender ( or a 1/4 tbsp of lavender essence
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.
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’
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.
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.
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
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
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 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!
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
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.