(For those more interested in Portuguese food perhaps skim to the end:)
We were only in Portugal (mainly Lisbon) for a few days but we hope to return next year. Our feature photo was taken from the most westerly point of Europe – where many brave Portuguese explorers set out on their explorations of the “new world”.
We stayed at the Marriott (I think it was about an hour out of Lisbon) – from the photo it looks like a luxury resort (which it was) but we were disappointed with that stay for a number of reasons:
It was one of the last stays on a 9 day Insight Tour around Spain and Portugal – we liked the tour guide and the bus driver but we were very disappointed with the tour (fast pace and in this case an out of the way location) and we haven’t done another one since. We prefer to organise our own independent travel, and in out of the way locations not accessible by train, we either hire a car (often in UK) or do day trips with various small group tour companies (often in Europe).
This was a 6 star Marriott and some might be thinking, “why would you not like that?”; trouble was that it was so far away from the cultural attractions as well as the interesting cafes and restaurants in/near Lisbon. We needed to eat at the hotel (you could have been anywhere in the world) except when Insight bused everyone into Lisbon the first night (after a very long day on the road) to make up for the fact that Insight had allowed us to be bumped out of the Marriott Hotel in Lisbon – apparently due to a medical conference…Drs may have been paying more?! The meal that night and in fact most nights with Insight, were often ordinary (lots of buffets) even when we were told that it would be “the best of local food” it was more like conference style food prepared for very large groups. It wasn’t good business practice by either Marriott or Insight so we’ve avoided both ever since.
Most of the time we also avoid resorts like this unless they’re located in a great central location (some in Asia are like that – close to a living culture and/or an interesting village or town) plus some offer v good value for money, beautiful pool/s like the one in this photo etc. (I’ll do another post with info on some we’ve enjoyed).
Back to Lisbon…
Consequently, we really only had time for a 1 day tour around the city of Lisbon, lunch at a small, family run restaurant (we enjoyed that) plus another 1/2 day tour along the coastline (see feature photo). So our plans for next year will be very different and I’ll write about that when we revisit.
We cooked a Portuguese recipe tonight so that inspired this post. It was Piri Piri Chicken from our cookbook – Portugal Found…Piri Piri*Star Fish by Tessa Kiros. Here it is:
Grilled Piri Piri Chicken
2 x 800 g chicken (we used thighs); 1 lemon; 3-4 garlic cloves (finely chopped); 1 tsp dried oregano; 1 tsp paprika; coarse salt to taste.
Basting sauce: 6-8 small dried chillies or 3-4 fresh (the longer ones are milder); 3 garlic cloves (roughly chopped); 70 g butter; 2 tbsp olive oil; 1 tsp fine salt; juice 1 lemon; 1 bay leaf; 2 tbsp ruby port. Optional – 2 tbsp whisky; extra ground Piri Piri.
I’ll type up the method tomorrow as it’s late here now…oops tomorrow is here and just realised that I’ve left this cookbook at our holiday house at the coast so I’ll type it up on our return there in a couple of weeks. In the meantime…
We do have a simplied version of chicken (from an Australian Women’s Weekly) that we sometimes made on busy working evenings and the occasional hectic day now retired. Here’s the ingredients for that:
Portuguese style barbecued chicken
Ingredients: 2 tsp sweet paprika; 2 tsp chilli powder; 2 tsp ground cinnamon; 2 tsp garlic powder; 2 tsp onion powder; 2 tsp salt; 8 (1.6 kg chicken thigh cutlets; 1/4 cup olive oil.
- Heat the frill of a covered barbecue over a high heat.
- Combine spices, powders and salt – coat chicken with this mixture
- Drizzle chicken with oil; cook on barbecue grill for about 6 min, turning until all sides have char marks and starting to crisp
- Place. All the chicken on one half of the barbecue and turn off the burners underneath the chicken. Leave the burners on the other half at med-high heat ie. no direct heat under the chicken. Lower hood on the barbecue and cook for approx 25 min. Check the chicken is cooked through. If you need to return for more cooking, do so in 5 min intervals.
The traditional way to serve this chicken (and the more authentic recipe above) is with green salad, steamed rice and Piri Piri (red chilli) sauce if desired.
Another recipe from the same book (P8) by Tessa Kiros we enjoyed:
Acorda of Prawns…very flavoursome!
An Acorda is a casserole thickened with mashed bread. It is often made with seafood. You can whisk an egg yolk into it at the very last moment, which is how we ate it in Lisbon but when cooked at home we decided to leave the egg out as it was already quite thick. Use white country style bread, such as Portuguese rolls or ciabatta – yesterday’s loaf so that it’s just on the edge of staleness. You can change the flavours by adding other herbs eg. Thyme (easy to grow) or chopped coriander (harder to grow).
Ingredients in our recipe (small serve for 4…depending on size of prawns of course)
16 raw prawns; 6 tablespoons olive oil; 2 shallots peeled & halved; 4 cloves of garlic (2 chopped, the others peeled but left whole); 2 bay leaves; handful of parsley stems & leaves; 2 small carrots peeled/halved; 2 small celery stalk; coarse salt; a few+ peppercorns; pinch of ground sweet paprika; 4 tablespoons chopped parsley; 6 tablespoons white wine; 240 g yesterday’s white country bread (crusts removed broken into small pieces); 1 egg yolk (optional).
Method: What you find on Net gives a similar method…quite a few steps eg. Firstly making a broth with prawn heads/shells & veg but worth the effort!
I topped my dish with extra chopped continental parsley – straight from our garden!
Origins of recipe (from… all-about-portugal.com)
“The origins of the açorda go back to the times of the Moorish occupation of the Portuguese territory, being an evolution of the Moorish bread soups. There are several types of açorda and I am fan of them all.”
Portuguese tarts – image from Kidspot on Net…a simple recipe there using store bought puff pastry. The authentic ones are even more delicious but the traditional recipe is a lot more complicated than this simplified version of course. However, this recipe for kids (older children or younger ones with a lot of guidance) has eggs and milk so it’s a real custard not one of those watery supermarket/factory varieties.
Grilled Sardines Portuguese Style is another recipe we regularly do…lots of good oils in sardines and we can get them very fresh at our local market on a Thursday and Friday (more often at the coast of course). Recipe will be typed up another day.
I always love to hear about food with a very interesting history. I read about this on Culture Trip App (which I might install) – there’s a list of other foods at that site. This was one food that grabbed my interest, not so much for the recipe (think we’ll just buy our sausages if we want them) but the history behind the food:
Alheira de Mirandela – a traditional sausage
“The alheira, a type of fowl sausage, is one of the cheapest and most common Portuguese dishes with a fascinating history. When the Jewish population was expelled from Portugal in 1498, many hid in the mountainous region of Trás-os-Montes in the northeast of Portugal, practicing their religion in secret while pretending they had converted to Catholicism. One way to do this was to ostensibly make, display and eat sausages so that everyone would think they were no longer keeping kosher. Nowadays, the dish is available in any corner eatery, but a special venue is Cervejaria Bota Velha, a small restaurant that offers the best petiscos (tapas) in Lisbon.
Cervejaria Bota Velha, Rua Domingos Sequeira 34, Lisboa, Portugal, +351 21 390 4447”.
“Polvo à Lagareiro”
“Portuguese cuisine is renowned for its seafood, often prepared in the simplest of manners; ask for fresh fish directly grilled over a slow fire before being seasoned with lemon and rosemary and you’ll enjoy one of the best meals in the country. Sometimes, however, a little technique is needed. Such is the case with polvo à lagareiro: a whole octopus is first boiled and then roasted in the oven with plenty of garlic and olive oil. Any city in the country will have a restaurant serving this popular dish, but a great choice is A Tasquinha in Nazaré, a beautiful seaside village 75 miles north of Lisbon.”
From Culture Trip App