Thursday, 20 April 2017

“Moçambique Portugal Fusion” - Un incontournable....IBO

 An island, a salt warehouse, a restaurant,a cafe.... 
I reiterate from my previous post how important it is for me to have  a convivial environment to eat in.When ones feet are sore and your calf muscles ache from climbing up and down the seite collinas de Lisboa its time for a bit of relaxez-vous, a bebida, cerveza and perhaps a petisco or something more substantial.Our friends recommended this place having in turn been recommended it themselves by another friend.No regrets here.Cafe Ibo and its adjoining restaurant are located just a stones throw from the “Praça de Comércio” Slap bang on the water, you can eat and watch the world go by accompanied by very tasty food and good wines at a very acceptable price point given the quality and location.Just where ferries embark and disembark from the cais de sodre ferry terminal you can both people watch and admire the views. It serves a variety of light snacks, great salads and sandwiches,  and a full range of drinks (including selection of craft beers).What makes for a good ambience is the friendly staff and the prices will not put a hole in your pocket.It became evident quite quickly that this is a local cafe for local people.this was reiterated by one tripadvisor review I read afterwards.

" Résidents lisboètes nous fréquentons régulièrement ce restaurant 
avec toujours autant de plaisir".

An added bonus to this venue is the origin of its name and a reminder of its history.The establishment is named after Ibo, an Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago ( Indian Ocean ) off the north coast of Mozambique.
In the 17th century Ibo Island was the capital of a large area on the east coast 
of Africa. At that time, this area was dominated by the Portuguese, from the centre of their Oriental colonial empire, Goa.Its strategic location allowed the Portuguese to control the Arab trading that existed then in the region.Other Europeans, such as the Dutch and the French, made several attempts to conquer the island. Consequently, in the late 18th century (1791) the Saint John Baptist Fortress was built.This military and commercial evolution attracted people from different parts of the world. Evidence of this can be seen, still today, by its mixed population.Today the Ibo Restaurant and cafe
are housed in a simple refurbishment of a former salt warehouse, built at the beginning of the 20th century. So as one revives oneself from steppin out in Lisbon, imbibing some fine artesanal beers and sampling some inspired Portuguese gastronomy and Mozambician flavours one casts ones mind back to the travels of the Portuguese and evoke passions of its colonial past.
"Há quem diga que o Ibo tem o melhor prego de Lisboa"
revista evasoes
Mozambique prawns at Ibo whats not to like
salada com pesto de azeitona

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Comendo com historia It's delightful,It's Delisbon it's delicious, it's de-lovely.

Long ago in days of yore,in downtown Lisbon there was an elegant Palace, built in 1781, where the aristocracy and bons vivants danced, enjoyed lavish banquets and admired new works of art. This palace was a very different one to the gastronomic emporium it has become today, it still retains its graceful architecture and its history and experience, and one still gets a feeling of a former glory and opulence.

Today´s Lisbon is now becoming more cosmopolitan, thanks to increasing numbers of visitors from overseas, including the start-ups that are finding a niche here. With its relaxed but sophisticated feel, Palácio Chiado, a restored 18th century palace in the heart of the city’s old town is attracting these younger entrepreneurs and international residents. The environment that surrounds us while we eat, to me is so important.The visual surroundings and decor of a restaurant can affect my decision of what I am going to eat. On entering Palácio Chiado, the former Barão de Quintela Palace, one is faced with a culinary conundrum. Which of the seven luxury food courts would one prefer to dine in.Spread over two floors you can wander through century old rooms full of frescos,and gaze up at vaulted ceilings, grand staircases  stained glass windows and there are even plenty of nooks in which to sit and chat.You are confronted with the choice of eating cod dishes (Bacalhau Lisboa),boards of aged meats (Meat Bar),gluten-free and lactose-free  and vegetarian food (Local Chiado) fusion sushi and Asian food (Sushic Chiado),convent sweets and Davvero ice cream (Confeitaria do Palacio) or the food court we chose, which was Portuguese cheese boards  cured ham and sausages (DeLisbon)

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Easter brunch.Piperrada,eggs with peppers

Piperade (Gascon and French) or Piperrada (Basque and thus Spanish
I can not bypass Easter weekend without a post involving eggs.I am sure that at some point over the Easter weekend  we will be entertaining some sort of brunch, either for ourselves or including a gathering of friends. Piperrada is a typical Basque dish prepared with onion and garlic,Serrano ham and tomatoes, sautéed and flavoured with red Espelette peppers. It has all the vibrant flavours of northern Spain. The colours coincidentally reflect the colours of the Basque flag.Like Ratatouille, Pipérade defies categorization. Is it a side dish? A relish? A sauce? An appetizer? A tapas dish? To me  you make it what you want, it is essentially a dish of savoury scrambled eggs.It is very often served as a tapa on a slice of baguette.In my version I normally use pequillo peppers or red pimentos that I have roasted and skinned.Obviously,one can´t do this without the eggs- and the better the eggs the better the dish-but the other ingredients should be allowed the odd substitution or even be left out. After all this is a simple supper and not something that requires attention to detail.This type of dish was one of my mothers standbys but her version included cheddar cheese and tomatoes, but no peppers.

Serves 4

2 red peppers or 2 tinned piquillo peppers drained
6tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1  small onion,shredded
75g Serrano ham,cut in strips
350g tomatoes peeled and diced
8 eggs
salt and pepper 
Roast the peppers under the grill until charred. wrap them in a cloth until cool enough to handle,then peel them.Discard the seeds and stem,then cut the peppers into strips.If you are using tinned pimientos,simply cut them into strips.Heat half the oil in a frying pan and sautée the garlic and onion.Add the strips of of ham,then the tomatoes and peppers.Fry for about 15 minutes until some of the liquid has evaporated.Tuirn into a bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper.Heat the remaining oil in the pan and pour in the eggs.Stir them,cooking very gently,then add the pepper mixture.Cook without stirring until the eggs are set.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Top of the pods, do yourself a fava

April is the peak season for broad beans ( favas )and peas ( ervilhas ). Although the first pods appear in the markets as early as March, signalling the beginning of spring.One glance at menus will show that risotto made with peas and or broad beans is currently the dish of the season...Gone are the days when the only bean ever to to appear on restaurant plates was the ultra fine french bean,and the only pea, a mangetout.I drew my inspiration for this dish from the River Cafe cook book, Green.What drew me to this particular recipe was the fact that every part of the pea is used.After podding  you save the pods and boil them in salted water and then pass them through a mouli, which results in an astoundingly sweet emerald purée that you stir through the risotto.I enhanced the dish with mint and chives for an added springtime flavour. I also used two extra cheeses which were not in the original recipe, mascarpone for a round creamy finish and some Requeijao ( Portuguese curd cheese ).
Risotto di favas , ervilhas e suas descascas
serves 6
2kg broad beans in their pods ( choose young,bright green thin pods )
1kg fresh young peas in their pods washed
Flor de sal and freshly ground black pepper
200g unsalted butter,softened
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
handful of mint leaves for garnish
small bunch of chives for garnish
1.75 litres chicken stock
200g spring onions chopped
300g risotto rice
100g parmesan,freshly grated
125 g requeijao

2 tablespoons mascarpone
Pod the broad beans and the peas. Keep the pea pods. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.Add the pea pods and cook for 5 minutes.Remove with a slotted spoon.Put through a mouli, then add 2-3 tablespoons of the cooking water.Blanch the peas in the boiling salted water,drain and add to the pea-pod pulp.Season and add 25g of the butter.

Add the broad beans to a clean pan of unsalted boiling water, and cook for 2-4 minutes.Drain and when cool remove the skins with your fingers then add 25g of the butter, the parsley and salt and pepper.Put half of this into the food processor and pulse-chop.Return to the whole beans.Heat the stock and check for seasoning

Melt half the remaining butter in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan.Gently fry the onion until soft and beginning to colour.Add the rice, stir to coat each grain with butter, and cook for 2-3 minutes.When the rice is opaque,start adding the hot stock ladle by ladle, adding the next only when the rice has absorbed the last.. Stir continuously. Continue to cook until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes.

Finally,stir in the peas and their pea-pod liquor,the broad beans ,requeijao and mascarpone.Add the remaining butter,and stir in the parmesan.Serve immediately

Friday, 7 April 2017

octopus tartare / tártaro de polvo, caught in a trap

I like to know the provenance of the food I eat.How it is caught, how it is killed and how it gets to my table. Since Phoenician times, octopuses have been the main catch for the villagers of Santa Luzia.The best octopus in Portugal comes from this Algarvian village,  snuggling next to Tavira and just 26 kms from casa rosada.The locals proudly call it the octopus capital of Portugal.The fishing process has changed little in several thousand years.
The barnacle-encrusted pottery jars (“alcatruz” )
The barnacle-encrusted pottery jars (“alcatruz” ) you see stacked all over the village are much more than rustic souvenirs: They're octopus traps. They're tied about 15 feet apart in long lines and dropped offshore. Octopuses think these are a cozy place to sleep but get caught when  the fishermen hoist them in, and when the pots get removed from the water the stubborn octopuses hang on — unaware they've made their final mistake. Nowadays the younger generation of fishermen don’t like to wait for the mollusks to fall asleep, so they prefer to use a “covo,” a plastic trap with a sardine inside.

Old timers swear that the octopus caught with the alcatruz tastes much better than the one caught with the covo.
Frozen octopus is much more reliable than fresh, in terms of ensuring the meat is tender.No more bashing on the rocks, modern thinking suggests that the freezer is the best option.
Octopus tartare / tártaro de polvo
now the weather has finally turned this is a great sunshine dish

makes 4 servings
500g of finely chopped prepared,freshly cooked octopus
2 finely chopped banana shallots
a few drops of tabasco
2 tsp capers de-salted and finely chopped
3 anchovy fillets (optional)
1/2 avocado mashed
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 soup spoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves
2 small radish finely chopped
Pinch of Flor de sal
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Once everything is finely chopped, mix well together, taste for seasoning and put into mould or small ramekin.
Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (and up to a couple of days). When ready to serve, turn out onto a plate and drizzle with some olive oil.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Ketjap manis-make your own

Shoulder of pork stew with keçap manis and ginger
These days you can make a home made version of almost any food product that is on the supermarket shelf.All it takes is a little time to research recipes online and then sort out which is the best version of what you have found. If you've eaten Nasi Goreng—or had your eye on Nigella Lawson´s Thai noodles with cinnamon and prawns—or if you are searching the internet in vain for a Hairy biker pork stew with ginger recipe, you'll already be familiar with  kecap manis (though maybe you've seen it spelled ketjap manis).
Pronounced kuh-CHOP MAH-nees, it translates to "sweet sauce": "Kecap" is a catchall term for the five essential Indonesian fermented sauces (and yes, it's related to kê-tsiap, the distant fermented-fish-sauce ancestor of our beloved ketchup), and "manis" means sweet (in this case, the source is palm sugar).
Syrupy where Japanese soy sauce is thin, caramelly and slightly smoky where shoyu is salty, kecap manis is, by many accounts, the most popular sauce in Indonesia.Add it to marinades, stir-fries, soups, barbecue sauces, glazes, or anywhere else you'd normally use maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, or agave to counter the saltiness of Japanese or Chinese soy sauce. Nigella Lawson, who describes it as "treacle-ish soy sauce," recommends replacing 1 tablespoon of kecap manis  with 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce sauce mixed with 1 tablespoon soft dark brown sugar if you can't find it.
I have to disagree with Ms Lawson here.Kecap manis adds a layer of flavour (as well as a sticky richness) that a hacked version does not.So…what’s the difference between soy sauce and kecap manis?
The obvious difference is soy sauce (or light soy sauce) is salty with a consistency of water; whereas kecap manis is sweeter and has the consistency resembling maple syrup.You can use light soy sauce in replacement of salt and kecap manis for colour and sweetness. You can also use these two sauces along side each other  to balance the savouriness and sweetness of Asian recipes.
my bottle of home made kecap manis with a cheekily printed off label I downloaded
I’m aware not everyone has a bottle of kecap manis in their kitchens and may not feel like investing in a whole bottle for an one-off recipe,but while you can pick up a bottle from any well-stocked Asian aisle of your supermarket, making a good imitation at home is simple, much like reducing balsamic vinegar: or if you are  a saucepot like me save your pricey fine balsamic vinegar for another day. It will be near-irresistable  for you to simply want the satisfaction of making sauces at home.
Either way, I thought you may be interested to make this at home since it’s neither a difficult nor an expensive exercise. Enjoy!
How to make home made kecap manis
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup water
1 cup soya sauce
7 tablesoons dark molasses ( Melaço de cana for my portuguese friends )

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine the sugar and water in a 2.5 litre (4 pint) saucepan.Bring to a simmer over a medium heat,stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved.Increase the heat to high and continue cooking until the syrup reaches 200 degrees on a sugar thermometer,about 5 minutes.Reduce the heat to low.Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer for 3 minutes.The sauce has a shelf life of 2-3 months if kept tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Shoulder of pork stew with Kecap manis ( pictured above)
It’s not often that I eat something that tastes so different to anything I’ve come across before. But this is such a dish. I came to it by way of The Hairy Bikers comfort food TV series, in the episode called cosy suppers. The viewers response to this recipe was immense but could any of us find the recipe anywhere on line? Could we heck.The general reaction in numerous internet food forums was "....this was my reaction as well, so I watched it again on Youtube and wrote it all down".I apologise for any inaccuracies but this is my take on it.
1 kg lean pork shoulder cubed
vegetable oil
3 banana shallots,sliced
4 birds eye chillies,finely chopped
4 fat garlic cloves
thick finger of ginger peeled 

1/2 tsp dried ginger powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chinese five spice 
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 litre stock
4 heaped soup spoons Kecap manis
2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsps tamarind paste
Cut the pork into cubes. Combine the spices and mix well into the meat.Set aside.
In a large lidded frying pan,gently fry the shallots in the oil.Grate and add the garlic and ginger to the pan being careful not to burn it.Remove tops and seeds from the chillies ( if preferred),chop finely and add to the pan.Stir and cook gently for a couple of minutes.Add the pork and mix everything well.
Combine all the ingredients for the stock then add this to the pan.
Mix it all well and bring to a simmer.
Cover and allow to simmer for approximately 11/2 hours.
After 20 minutes remove the lid and continue cooking without the lid.
Serve with plain boiled rice and some green beans or broccoli.
If liked,fry some sliced shallots and a couple more sliced chillies until crisp and brown.Dry on kitchen paper and sprinkle on top of the stew.