April was a weird reading month, as you might have gathered from the title. I took forever to finish Jane Eyre, a classic I had started in March and ran a book club on in mid April. And then I raced through two books in one week while on holiday. Some months are simply like that. If I crunch down the numbers, I haven´t read that much in April, especially not when I think of how much time off I had and how little of it I spent reading. But the three books I did read in April turned out full of powerful lessons and generated some pretty awesome conversations, both with others, and with myself. And so, let´s see what I read for this #monthlybookclub.
For the final #homemadeMonday of #seafoodApril – I present to you hubby´s grandma´s açorda de camarão – a typical Portuguese dish based on soaked bread with garlic, olive oil and much more. We reproduced André´s grandma´s way of making it and it did not only come out delicious, but also extremely pretty in aspect, as you can hopefully tell from the pictures. So without further ado, here´s a different type of #guestchefseries – one in which grandma, the guest chef, safely offered her guidance through the phone instead of in person. We´re eagerly waiting to eat grandma´s açorda with her, over a nice glass of wine and old family pics. But in the meantime, I´m sharing this with all of you.
Continuing #seafoodapril with another super simple and extremely yummy recipe – clams à bulhão pato. Named after bon vivant poet Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato, this way of cooking clams is extremely easy and no matter how complicated cooking clams might sound, you simply cannot mess it up. Important things to keep in mind for this recipe: use good quality butter and white wine, and if possible fresh coriander and lemon. Without further ado, here comes a most anticipated #homemadeMonday recipe.
Portugal´s South coast is a paradise of green waters, magnificent beaches and what seems like an endless supply of delicious sea food. The Algarve is a mere two and a half hours away from Lisbon, so lots of Portuguese vacation there at least once every summer. I, myself, albeit not Portuguese (yet), love driving down there and exploring all the different nooks and crannies of this wonderful coast line. This time, we stayed in the town of Luz de Tavira, and explored the East side of the Algarve. And while I won´t be writing much in this post, I´d like to share ten pictures from my camera, that I think could be actual postcards – four from the charming town of Vila Real de Santo António – the last town before reaching Spain, and six from the village of Cacela Velha, a nearby white village overlooking a most charming lagoon and beach.
I´ve been thinking long and hard about what to call this recipe. You see, originally we started cooking mussels a la Vila Franca do Campo – aka the Açorean way. But as time went by, we kept tweaking the recipe and the current state of it is a bit far from its origins in method, albeit just as, or dare I say even more? – delicious. So I´m gonna call it “our special mussel recipe”, and proceed to sharing our secrets for this #homemadeMonday on what has become after your votes – #seafoodapril.
Every time we buy an octopus to cook, it feels like we´re going to feast on it for a full week. And while I had no problem with eating french fries every day for a month when I was little, nowadays I get a bit bored of repeating a meal too many days in a row. So I kept some tentacles from last week´s octopus and instead of reheating them, I repurposed them for a typical Portuguese octopus salad. The octopus salad is possibly one of my favourite ways of eating octopus as it is fresh and a perfect blend of flavours drowned in olive oil. I used octopus that we had boiled and even cooked in the oven previously, so please keep that in mind if you trey to reproduce this week´s #homemadeMonday. Also, considering this is an appetiser, the picture here has about two portions of the salad in it so keep that in mind when planning.
Blame it on the arriving of spring and the romanticism that comes with it, but the month of March always makes me want to go back to the classics. And since I had taken advantage of the Christmas sales and bought plenty of them, I picked up a couple, let you also vote for one additional one to read with me for the digital book club, and here we are. I will not be covering Jane Eyre, which I am still reading for the interactive book club discussion mid April, but instead will sum up the other three classics I read in this beautiful month of March.
Romanesco broccoli – a veggie so perfect, it will make you believe in divinity. Alright, that might be an overstatement, but seriously – have you ever seen a more perfect vegetable than this one? You can read more about this miracle broccoli here , but here are some main things you should know, before I tell you how I cooked it for this #homemadeMonday.
I remember the first bite André took out of the first couscous salad I ever made. I looked at him longing, and asked nervously: “So, do you like it? Shall I do it again?”. André took another bite and timidly said “Yeah… I mean you can keep doing these healthy dishes and I´ll do the ones we actually love, like fajitas and stuff”. I´m laughing now, but I was pretty upset then. And yet, I repeated the couscous and it rapidly became André´s favourite dish of mine. Growing confident, one day I thought I´d use the bulgur wheat tabouleh we´ve had in our drawer for a year and make a dish out of it. I looked for some inspiration online, and decided upon a tabouleh with chickpeas, cucumber, feta cheese and mint. I altered the recipe, as I usually do, and what came out was a delicious mediterranean-like salad that André actually liked, had it not been for the za´atar, a spice he doesn´t fancy as it turns out. So for this #homemadeMonday, I present to you a great recipe for when you want a light dish to detox after the winter holidays, or one to take to the beach with you on hot summer days.
My friend Florent is possible the biggest cheese lover you´ll ever meet. And yes, you guessed it, he is French. In the years we´ve been friends he´s taught me plenty about all kinds of French cheeses and how to best pair them with all sorts of French wine. But by far his best culinary contribution to my world was the day he made a tartiflette for the #guestchefseries. This #homemadeMonday you´ll finally get access to this most infamous dish. The tartiflette dish is from the Savoy area of the French alps and dates all the way back to the beginning of the 1700s, when it was first mentioned in a cook book. The centre element of the dish is the potato, along with the reblochon cheese. But while delicious, it´s a rather heavy dish. Which is why it´s so popular in ski resorts, where it warms people´s hearts and bellies. So if you want to go for it, make sure you have a day of laying down ahead of you, and a good white wine to pair it with.