This week I have decided to present you with something that is not traditionally Portuguese. I wanted to follow the road of discovery and excitement of those who ventured years ago in fragile boats and ploughed the sea in searching of new land and cultures. Africa, Middle East, Asia….So I plunged into the fridge and the pantry and managed to discover inbetween jars a few ingredients that are from all around the world. Piri-piri from Mozambique, couscous from Magreb, Moroccan dates from last Christmas, the Jerusalem artichokes from America, rosewater from India, vivid and seasonal beetroot from England. With these enticing and varied items, I present you two dishes which embody this week’s culinary voyage.
Piri-Piri Lamb steaks,
sautéed brown mushrooms and a beetroot and Jerusalem artichoke mash
2 lamb steaks
3 red finely chopped chilli peppers
150g of chopped brown mushrooms
knob of butter
4 medium size beetroots
300g of Jerusalem artichokes
salt & pepper
1 tsp of horseradish
On a plate, prepare a marinade by squeezing the juice of the lemon, the finely chopped chillies and the salt & pepper. Pour on top of the lamb steaks and place in the fridge for three hours or overnight is even better.
Peel the beetroots and the Jerusalem artichokes and cook them separately in two pans with water and salt for at least 45 minutes, until they are soft. Drain and set aside in a sieve for about half an hour to make sure that all the water is drained. Mash them together, add the horseradish and season well.
In a hot grill pan, grill the lamb steaks for 3 minutes each side, for thicker steaks allow more time. When ready, quickly add the butter and the juices of the lamb marinade and cook the mushrooms in the pan. Serve the lamb steaks with the mushrooms on top and the mash at their side.
Orange and couscous cake with a honey & date
200g of couscous
180g of sugar
Rind of 1 orange
For the filling
300 ml of cream
190 ml of natural yougurt
2 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of rose water
1 tsp of cinnamon
150g of chopped dates
70g of chopped pistachio kernels
Pre-heat the oven at 190 ºC.
Place the couscous in a small bowl and cover with boiling water until completely covered. Cover with cling film and set aside until the couscous has absorbed all of the water. Let it cool down completely.
In two bowls separate the yolks and the whites from the eggs. Whisk the whites until they resemble soft peaks. Set aside. Beat the yolks with the sugar, add the rind of the orange and the couscous. Whisk well. Fold in the egg whites. Butter a spring form of approximately 23 cm of diameter, pour in the cake batter and place it in the oven for 40 minutes until it is golden and dry when pierced with a knife. Take it out of the oven and transfer it to a cooling rack .
In a small pan simmer the honey, the rosewater, the cinnamon and the dates for 15 minutes. Drain the dates from the syrup and let it cool down completely. In a bowl whip the cream with the Yoghurt and then fold in the dates.
With a knife cut the cake horizontally in half. Soak the two parts with the syrup. Spread some of the filling over one half and sandwich the two parts together. Cover the top of the cake with the remainder of the filling and sprinkle with the chopped pistachio kernels.