Peixinhos da Horta

Literally translated as ‘small fish from the garden’ these unassuming delicacies have a bit of a world history. Portuguese missionaries traveling to Japan in the 16th century shared the practice of frying green beans in a light batter. The Japanese loved it so much that the practice became widespread and tempura (related to the Portuguese word tempero) became famous the world over. This recipe spreads the global reach of these ‘vegetable fish’ by using tapioca flour from Brazil. Tapioca is a gluten free flour made from casava and makes for an excellent alternative to wheat flour. The search for the perfect batter is a life-time quest and at the moment we think this one is the winner. Although this is a fried food, the wheat free flour and the fact we fry in olive oil makes it guilt free and a healthy starter or side dish.
Peixinhos da Horta

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Roasted Quince/Marmelos Assados

Quince is the thing to look out for when you begin to feel those long sunsets at the end of the summer. This rather acidic, not exactly good looking fruit grows in many places around the world but is often unappreciated. For the Portuguese this is pure seasonal gold! We rush to the local markets and grab the best fruit at the best price and at the right time! Quince, marmelos in Portuguese, are the quintessencial fruit for preserves – marmelada, which became the english marmelade. The word marmelada first appeared in writing by the pen of the Portuguese bard Gil Vicente in 1521. Don’t be fooled by the story that Mary Queen of Scots, who used to eat marmelada when feeling low (who wouldn’t?), invented the word marmelada through her “Marie est malade” (Mary is sick)! In any case, this post is not about marmelada but an alternative way of preparing this delicious fruit which, I guarantee, will become the best friend of your Autumn Sunday roasts.

Marmelos Assados

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Pan sautéed potatoes/Batatas passadas pela sertã

A simple and delicious way of using left over boiled potatoes. “Passadas pela sertã” literally means passed through the frying pan. The olive oil, paprika and garlic lend the potatoes a deep and robust flavour as well as an irresistible crispy texture. This makes an excellent side dish for grilled meats.

Sauteed Potatoes

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Pork Ribs Vinha d’Alhos/Costelas em Vinha d’Alhos

Vinha d’Alhos is an ancient Portuguese meat marinade based on wine (vinho) and garlic (alho) with aromatics such as bay leaves, thyme, cloves and dried chillies (piri-piri). The magic combination of red wine and garlic makes up for a truly Portuguese flavour which has travelled the word during the 15th and 16th Century “descobrimentos” and made it to India where it became the basis of the Vindaloo.

This recipe takes the traditional marinade to cook falling off the bone pork ribs and create a deep and flavourful sauce. The ribs are served with halved boiled potatoes with skin (batatas à racha) and sautéed kale.

We use kuzu, a Japanese flavourless gluten-free starch thickener which gives the sauce a rich velvety texture.

Vinha d'Alhos
Vinha d’Alhos

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Oven roasted salted cod/Bacalhau assado no forno

One of the classics amongst the 1001 bacalhau recipes that guide the Portuguese through each calendar year. This way of cooking cod intensifies its salty flavour and produces an irresistible sauce resulting from the mix of olive oil, garlic and the cod juices. Accompanying the cod is a bed of spring greens and the obligatory “batatas a murro”, baked potatoes, punched open just before serving.

Salted cod needs to be soaked in cold water for 2-3 days (depending on the thickness of the steaks). Water should be changed twice daily. 

bacalhaunoforno

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Garlic Soup/ Sopa d’ Alho

The pungent aroma of garlic makes its way into most Portuguese dishes. From thin raw slices to slow fried minced pieces, this keystone of Southern European cuisine is remarkably versatile in its use. This recipe takes garlic in its most sweet and nutty character to flavour a delicate creamy soup. The recipe is inspired by 18th century Portuguese techniques which provide substance and body to broths by using ground almonds. The ground almonds not only thicken the broth but provide extra flavour. Chia seeds are included as an optional ingredient of their superfood status and to add consistence and texture to the soup. This is a quick and simple yet sophisticated soup you can prepare while making the rest of your meal.

Garlic Soup
Garlic Soup

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Winter Salad/Salada de Inverno

Custom has it that when it comes to side dishes in Portuguese food, the fresh summer salads of lettuce and tomatoes get replaced by sautéed greens once the colder months arrive. This recipe reverses the trend and features the fabulous winter superfood, the pomegranate, called romã in portuguese after the arab rumman. The salad serves as a substantial side dish or a main in itself for a light lunch.

wintersalad

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Broccoli Rice / Arroz de brócolos

Mixing rice and broccoli never struck me as a natural combination until I saw it as a side dish for meat dishes in Portuguese restaurants in Rio de Janeiro. Classic places like Nova Capela in Rio’s Lapa district serve it with a delicious roast kid. This is a simple and quick version which keeps the freshness of the broccoli by adding them just before the rice is cooked.

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Courgette Salad/Salada de Corgetes

Courgettes are a relatively recent addition to the Portuguese pantry . This salad turns this rather bland vegetable into a flavourful dish with with the help of a bbq, good quality olive oil, garlic and parsley. This is a great salad to accompany grilled meat or fish and can be served hot or cold.

Courgette Salad

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