Back from the gorgeous land that’s Portugal. I know this is meant to be a food blog, but I have to write a few lines about how fabulous Lisbon and Evora were. The atmosphere, the people and the food were truly amazing. What blew us away was the quality of the espressos; every little café did a very high standard of coffee. Beats the coffee in France & Italy hollow.
Needless to say we devoured many a pasteis de nata or pasteis de Belem (which is where they were first made) with our espresso and couldn’t seem to get enough.
The pasteis are still lingering in my mouth. I have re-read the recipe in Rick Stein’s book and I’m sure I will be trying to make a batch of these sooner than I should!
The Portuguese ceramics I wanted to buy turned out to be more elusive than I had anticipated. Never to be thwarted on the pottery shopping front, we soon found a couple of fabulous shops tucked away in old Lisbon and I came back armed and loaded with the stuff. No doubt you will spot some in future food photos.
Going on holiday is hard work…first empty the fridge and then restock! This time around both jobs were made much easier. I hate throwing away any food, and it’s tricky to have just the right amount of perishables so that we have enough to eat before we depart. In the end, the extras consisted of unhomogenised organic milk, lots of ripe bananas (Ocado has a way of delivering completely unripe bananas, so they ripen just when you are off on holiday).
The milk was quickly and effortlessly converted to paneer (Indian cottage cheese), as that requires just the addition of something that will curdle it – white vinegar, lime juice or sour yoghurt. Once done it freezes well, and we had a lovely Indian style pan-fried dish of paneer and red pepper upon our return. I turned the bananas into banana bread (recipe below).
Re-stocking was easy with all the gourmet food bought back from holiday…fabulous tinned sardines in gift-worthy packaging, local sheep cheeses which you can scoop out with a spoon and eat with bread, and of course Pata negra. We feasted on our purchases and continued in holiday mode.
For the rest of the week, we just wanted to hang on to the Latino theme. First off we ate Mexican pulled pork carnitas and then to finish off with flourish, I finally decided to make churros.
If you haven’t managed to eat churros yet, you need to beg, borrow and steal your way to some. Described as a breakfast treat in Spain and Mexico, I wouldn’t recommend eating them for breakfast, unless you are planning a hike afterwards. They are a true treat, but one that’s truly worthy of the calories.
The first revelation making churros was that they were so very quick and easy. Compared to doughnuts, these were a complete breeze to make. I won’t be bothering with doughnuts again, the boys love these as much if not more, and you can have them from mixing bowl to table within 20 minutes.
Back home now, loving the family and cooking treats for them is priority number one!