Portuguese food

The food of Portugal is rich, & has a depth of intensity just like its people.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Creme Brulee - Tijelada


I love all things custard ever since I went to Portugal 2 years ago. Custards are everywhere in Portugal, first there's Leite de creme ( which translated means milk cream), Tigelada ( Brulee ), creme caramel, & numerous other eggy type custard that are placed in cakes or doughnuts.

For my recent birthday I received two great gifts, 1 was a mini blow torch that I'd been wanting for ages & the other was these great little pots that had the cutest colours.
I decided to make Creme brulee,which in Portugal is called Tijelada.
I used the recipe from the Masterchef site as it looked great, & make one of  the best brulee's ever.


Recipe ( Makes 6 large pots )

  • 1,200lt cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half & scraped of seeds or 2 tea vanilla essence
  • 12 egg yolks
  •  1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 240g demarura sugar or caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees

2. Place cream, vanilla bean & seeds in a saucepan over medium heat & bring to scalding point, then remove from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean & discard.

3. Whisk together the egg yolks & caster sugar in a bowl for 2-3 min until pale in colour.

4. Pour hot cream over the yolks, continuing to whisk until well combined.
Strain mixture into a jug & pour into ramekins.

5. Carefully place ramekins into a deep roasting pan & pour boiling water into the pan, coming  half  way up the sides of the ramekins. 
Cover the ramekins loosely with foil.

  • Scalding the cream means just as it's starting to boil.
  • Strain the mixture so that you remove any shell or bits that haven't mixed through
  • Be sure not to over cook the custard, when you remove it from the oven it should still be a bit wobbly but not overly wobbly.
  • Allow it set in the fridge
  • A brulee should be velvety smooth & slightly thick, never grainy & watery.

6.  Bake in the oven for 40 min or until the custard has just set. Remove ramekins from the water bath & set aside to cool. Then refrigerate for 2 hours.

7. Sprinkle with demerura sugar evenly over the surface of the baked custards.
Run a kitchen blow torch over the custards until the sugar bubbles & caramelises.

The perfect brulee, beautiful soft creamy custard & a crunchy toffee topping.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Red Capsicum Paste - Massa de Pimentao

I've been promising to blog about this paste for months & finely here it is. The main reason being I was waiting till capsicums were in season, I hate using things out of season.
A lot of the recipes I have used in this blog includes capsicum paste & so it was really time to include it.
I used this paste quite extensively in Portugal & become a huge fan of it. I was so disappointed when I got back & couldn't find it anywhere. After one of my Petersham pilgrimages I saw that they'd started to import it.
You can use the paste as a marinate on fish, poultry, meat, add it to stews  or  add a tablespoon in a stir fry with a bit of white wine & herbs, & you have a delicious sauce. 
I'm not sure  where this paste originated from, although the Algarve people tend to use it a lot.
It really adds just that extra bit of taste to any bland dish.
I've included 3 different types of capsicum paste, the first is my home made version, the second is a bought one from Petersham deli ( they stock Portuguese products ) & the third is European.

This is my home made version. It's delicious & really easy to make.
Makes 800g

  • 4 large red capsicum
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tab salt

1. Roast capsicums on a tray, until the skin is black & blistered.

2. Once the capsicums are cooked put them into a bowl & cover with cling film.
 Once the capsicum are cooled, peel the skin & remove the seeds. Pat dry the capsicums to     remove any excess  moisture.

3. Add the capsicum, garlic, salt & olive oil to a food processor & blend till smooth.

 4. Put the mixture into jar containers, adding a bit of oil on top. This prevents mould growing & keeps the mixture for longer.

  This capsicum paste  is imported from Portugal & bought from - Charlie's Deli
37 New Canterbury Rd, Petersham, Sydney
Ph: 9560 4037    
The paste has a richer flavour than the home made one.

This capsicum paste is from Hungry or Croatian ( I'm not really sure ) & is similar to the home made version. It can be found at any supermarket in Sydney. I do find this paste a bit oily, so I use half the amount. I used to use this product before I could get the imported Portuguese paste.

So there you go, all 3 versions of a great paste.
There are lots of recipes in this blog that  use this paste, so feel free to browse & try some out if you like.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Codfish,potatoes & onion casserole - Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa

Dried cod fish ( bacalhau) as I've mentioned on  this post before, is the most popular fish eaten in Portugal & there are literally hundreds of ways of preparing bacalhau.
One of the most popular ways of preparing bacalhau in Portugal is this dish Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa, this dish is a casserole, of dried codfish, potatoes, onions.
The  dish was created by Gomes de Sá who was the son of a rich nineteenth century merchant (apparently he dealt in cod) in Porto.The family lost it's fortune and so the son had to find a job at the famous restaurant Restaurante Lisbonense in downtown Porto. It was there that he created the now well known & famous recipe.

This dish was made by my friends mother for her grandsons birthday party.
It just looked so lovely that I decided to take a photo & share it with everyone.

  •  600 - 8oog dried codfish (soaked for 24 hours)
  •  8 medium size potatoes, waxy
  •  4 large brown onions, sliced thin rounds
  •  8 garlic cloves, crushed
  •  250ml olive oil
  •  4 hard boiled eggs, shell removed & sliced
  •  100g black olives
  •  2 tea salt
  •  1 tea white pepper
  •  1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  •  150ml extra olive oil

1. Soak the dried cod over night, changing the water twice.

2. Simmer a pot of water & add the cod to the water & simmer on a gentle heat for 5- 8 minutes, then drain the cod & leave to cool.

3. Put the potatoes (whole with the skin on)  into a large pot & bring the potatoes to the boil.
Once the potatoes are cooked drain & set aside to cool. Add the eggs to the potatoes & cook for 10 min, till the eggs are hard boiled, then set aside.
Once the potatoes are cooled, cut in 1/4 inch thick slices.

4. In a fry pan add the oil then heat the pan adding the onions & garlic.Cook on medium heat till the onions are soft & slightly caramelised. This may take 15 - 20 min.
Once the onions are cooked set aside.

5. Once the ingredients are all cooked & prepared, start to assemble the dish. 

6. Grease an oven proof dish ( a shallow lasagna dish is good for this) with some oil & spread half of the potatoes over the bottom of the prepared dish, then sprinkle half of the salt cod over the potatoes. Then spread half the onions on top of the potatoes,sprinkle a teaspoon salt & pepper.

6. Repeat the process till all the ingredients are gone.
Garnish with hard boiled egg slices,  black olives, & chopped parsley.
Drizzle the extra olive oil on top & bake at 180 degrees for 25min or till golden.

  • I buy packets of dried codfish that have been removed of skin & bone, so the weight that I've mentioned is for this type. If you buy it in pieces with the skin & bones then weigh the amount after it's been cooked with the skin & bones removed. 

  • You can buy codfish at any good deli.  If your in Sydney you can buy the packet Codfish from: 
  •   Charlie's Deli
    37 New Canterbury Rd, Petersham
    Ph: 9560 4037