Saturday, September 27, 2003

Cozido á Portuguesa

I see someone was looking for a recipe in English for cozido á portuguesa. If you come back and see this, if you like I'll get the proper proper recipe from Sogríssima, my mother-in-law who makes a great example (as long as I'm not forced to eat the pigs' ears!). email

Friday, September 26, 2003

LIGHT carrot cake

This started out as a spiced apple muffin recipe until one day I was out of apples and tried carrots instead and it makes the lightest carrot cake. Even the fussiest members of my family will eat this (as long as I don't tell them there are carrots inside).

200g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder and half tspoon bicarb
150g sugar (use brown for a slightly darker look and taste)
1/4 tspoon salt
150g of finely grated carrot
a heaped tspoon cinnamon
a level tspoon of grated nutmeg
a pinch of cloves

juice and zest of a lemon
about 120ml milk
1 egg
60g butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Mix together in a large bowl all the dry ingredients, grated carrot and lemon ZEST.

In a measuring jug, put the lemon juice and top up to 200ml with the milk. chuck in the egg and butter, whisk up and pour onto the dry ingredients.

mix lightly with a spoon, just until the carrot is separated and all the dry stuff is wet (!).

Pour this pretty liquid batter into a tin 20x30cm lined with greaseproof or equivalent (this time greasing won't work, has to be in paper).

Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is springy and browning nicely. Cut into squares and tell the weight/cholesterol conscious that it only has one egg and 60g butter in the WHOLE thing. That'll shut 'em up.


I know it sounds like an eating disorder, but bolema is a Portuguese apple cake. It is all appley and cinnamony and this is my version of it.

for the dough:
500g plain flour
1 sachet yeast
pinch of salt
60g sugar
50g butter
1/4 litre tepid milk

for the rest:
two or three apples, quartered and sliced very finely (as in a french apple tart)
250g sugar (more or less, depending on the tartness of the apples.

mix and knead the dough as normal bread dough, leave to rise for an hour, knock it back (now turn on the oven to 200ºC). Split into two halves. Roll out the first piece to fit a baking tin (about 20x30cm) lined to the top edges with greaseproof/bake o glide/whatever (basically cos it's easier than bothering greasing the thing).

Onto the rolled out dough sprinkle about 50g of sugar and a little cinnamon. Then lay on the apple slices, so that they overlap (just like a french apple tart!) until they cover the base, though leaving about 1 cm around the edges uncovered. Sprinkle on about 150g of sugar this time, and about a teaspoon of cinnamon. (more sugar if apples are really tart).

Then roll out the remaining dough to the same size, press down onto the apples and seal at the edges to close off the apples. Sprinkle on some more sugar and cinnamon on top. When the oven is hot, bake for 25-35 mins. Slice up and eat.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Back to the blogfront

Well, if you read my other bog, you'll know that life has been a bit hectic and strange and no good for blogging time, but now I'm back and I've been making some amazing cakes I have to tell you about. more later.

Sunday, August 31, 2003


I dried my tomatoes, really slowly in the oven, on and off all day, never higher than 120 degrees, dredged with coarse salt. Then when they were really plasticky, I rinsed off the salt, dried them in the oven for ten minutes and now they are in a jar in olive oil waiting to be eaten. hey hey hey. I love it when an experiment works.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

oven-dried tomatoes

Today I am mostly experimenting with oven drying some very large, mature, beautiful tomatoes from my mother-in-law's neighbour's garden. Dona Gloria must be an amazing gardener. Anyway, I will see how my experiment goes, using the oven, since we seem to have lost our super summer, ergo no SUN-drying.
If Lulu at Frittata e Zucchine sees this, do you have any tips for drying tomatoes? Dried tomatoes are unknown in Portugal, strangely, and though a huge favourite it Britain, we obviously don't have the hot summers to make them ourselves.

Sunday, August 17, 2003


This is for my fellow Desalinhada...a basic fish pie, english style (I'm sure my mother will prob have something to add or correct to this recipe)

You need...
half a kilo of any fish, good firm ones (pescada/whiting, corvina, cherne, salmão/salmon, tamboril/monkfish)
half a litre of milk

a glug of olive oil and a knob of butter
a big leek
a couple of handfuls of mushrooms (very finely chopped if the kids hate them)
a clove of garlic (1 dente)
2 large handfuls of grated cheddar or yellow gouda
1 tablespoon of flour.
1 tablespoon smooth french mustard
salt and pepper

lashings of mashed potato (not puré, all starchy á portuguesa, just mashed á inglesa with butter and a bit of salt)

First, in a shallow pan, bring the milk to a simmer then poach the fish gently in the milk for five or six minutes. take it off the heat, pull out as much of the flesh of the fish as you can and set it on one side. Then strain (and keep) the milk to catch the skin and bones. chuck out the skin and bones. Salvage any more of the flesh from the sieve before you throw it all away!

Then, in a larger pan, start frying the leek (sliced finely) in the oil and butter, then add the garlic and the mushrooms. Once these are lightly cooked, the leeks good and translucent, beat in the tablespoon of flour with a wooden spoon then start pouring in the saved milk, mixing well all the time to prevent lumps. Use up all the milk and then start with some fresh milk, bringing it to the boil, until you have a sauce that gloops and bubbles and plops as it boils (!) but not too thick. (as thick as yoghurt, again!). Take it off the boil, and throw in most of the cheese, all of the mustard and salt and pepper to season it.

Turn on the oven, to about 180ºC. smear a dish with butter, spread out the fish, keeping it in some good large lumps, then pour the sauce over it.
Then start putting the mashed potato on the top, working from the edges toward the middle, (then it doesn't sink while you're doing it). Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake for another 20 to thirty minutes OR make smaller ones and freeze them, then bake them when they come out of the freezer.

Eat with peas, piles of them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

a good breakfast for ambulante children

In that they can wander around eating it, all morning for all I care, and when they inevitably ditch it in the middle of their toys, not to be rediscovered for another six weeks, it will only shrivel up an dry out instead of making something nasty to make mummy almost throw up when she puts her hand in it during a desperate attempt to make the house look reasonable before mother in law gets here...

so, here are my cinnamon pancakes, desperately easy, no weighing, all by eye (I have been experimenting with my basic pancake mixture and am still to have a disaster, I just chuck it all in, and this is first thing in the morning when all I have on my mind is nappies, need for coffee, screaming children etc etc and no fine tuned delicate recipes..)

Food processor at the ready... chuck in:-
three eggs,
four times the volume of the eggs of plain flour and a tblspn baking powder (or just selfraising flour),
a pinch of salt, two tablespoons of sugar, two teaspoons of cinnamon
either one fifth of a pack of butter melted or equiv of olive or groundnut oil,
start with a teacup of milk

start whizzing up and start adding more milk. just add the milk until you have the consistency of thick creamy yoghurt, so it is pourable, but not too runny.

if you go too far in runniness, you can add a bit more flour.

make sure it is all whizzed until realy smooth.

cook them in a nonstick and you won't have to use ANY butter or oil to cook them. Pour in the mixture, when it starts bubbling on the top, turn it over, cook another thirty secs. done.

eat with bacon, syrup, honey, butter, ANYTHING you fancy, or give them to the small children let them eat them plain. (that's how I eat them, with nothing on... the pancake, not me....ooh, you know what I mean.)