Cinnamon Rolls

An awesome Danish recipe.

Leg of Lamb

For the perfect Sunday roast.

Honey and Cinnamon Cookies

Delicious cookies.

Orange and Ginger Chicken Thighs

A summery chicken recipe.

Slide1

Slide1

Merry Christmas

So here I am to finally wish you a Merry Christmas.
I had hoped I could should you some Christmas lights, but this year there are none to be found in Leiria. There was however a very sunny day this week.


And a fluffy kitten.


Some rice pudding in the making.


Coscorões - recipe to come.


And Bolo Rei!


Have a good Christmas.

Filhoses

I've shared a recipe for bacalhau (salted and dried codfish), but no Portuguese Christmas dinner is complete without filhoses (or velhoses)Or at least this is true for Center Portugal. Filhoses can be made of pumpkin or of carrots. In my family however we only make carrot filhoses. Both my grandmothers use carrots and this is the recipe of one of them. They never really measured their ingredients, but this is a close approximation that an aunt of mine came up with, after watching my grandmother. 


Ingredients

  • 1kg (35oz) carrots
  • 250g + 4 tablespoons (2 1/3 cups) flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 orange 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • sugar and cinnamon in equal quantities, oil, q.s.

Instructions

Peel the carrots and grate them finely. Add the zest of the orange to the carrots. Dissolve the sugar in the juice of the orange and add it to the mixture. Add the eggs and the baking powder and mix well.


Add the flour and mix well. You want the dough to be slightly dense so that when you drop it from a spoon it falls in one piece. Add more flour if necessary.


You want to use half a tablespoon for each filhós.


Heat up some oil and fry one filhós to make sure the oil is hot enough. You can fry several filhoses at once. When you're frying the dough, it should turn on itself. But if it doesn't, just give it a little help with a tablespoon. Remove the filhós when it turns golden on both sides. Place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil and cover them with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. 


Let it cooldown and serve.






For a print friendly version visit this recipe at my Recipes page.

Bacalhau with Broa

In the spirit of this Christmas season, here is a recipe worthy of a Christmas dinner in Portugal. Bacalhau, or codfish that has been salted and dried, is commonly eaten on Christmas Eve in Portugal, roasted or boiled accompanied by cabbage or potatoes. My sister and my brother-in-law came to visit us recently and brought us two essential ingredients: bacalhau and broa (a special kind of cornbread). It's possible to find bacalhau in Denmark, but broa is nearly impossible, I'd say. I will be going to Portugal for Christmas and I will try to find a reliable recipe for broa, so that you can give this a try wherever you are. 
The obscene amounts of olive oil and the garlic make for a recipe that might be a bit too much for non-Portuguese folks, but all I can say is that we ate 800g of codfish for lunch. No regrets. It was amazing. And the recipe is from an aunt of mine.


Ingredients

  • 4 bacalhau (dried and soaked codfish) pieces (200g/7oz each)
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 broa (cornbread)
  • olive oil, salt, chili pepper flakes, q.s.

Instructions

Broa might be the most difficult ingredient to get for this recipe. I've never made broa and from what I've heard it's somewhat difficult. I will try to make it and I'll share the recipe at a later time. Chop the broa with a food processor if you have one or with your hands.


It will crumble to pieces. Add some olive oil (~2 tablespoons), the garlic, a bit of salt and a bit of chili pepper flakes.


Place the bacalhau on a baking tray. Just look at these beautiful pieces of bacalhau.


Press the broa mixture on top of the bacalhau and don't worry if it falls in the baking tray. Pour olive oil in the baking tray until it reaches 1/3 of the pieces. Bake in a preheated oven to 200ºC (390ºF) for 40 min (I lowered the temperature to 180ºC (350ºF) for the last 10 minutes because the broa was getting too dark).


Serve with punched potatoes or with some boiled cabbage.



For a print friendly version visit this recipe at my Recipes page.

Basic White Bread

I have been playing around with a bread recipe for two months now. Since we only eat bread on our cheat day (we're on paleo), it took a while to get it to where I wanted it to. Bread in Denmark is remarkably different from the bread in Portugal and we find ourselves craving for something authentic, from time to time. A few years ago, my dad gave me a recipe for bread that could be tweaked to what I was looking for in a loaf of bread, with a range of possible percentages for flour and yeast instead of quantities.
The husband is very particular in regard to what kind of bread he likes: it has to be light, with small air holes, a slight bitter taste and a soft crust. After a lot of experimentation, I finally discovered the combination that would result in that type of bread: white but strong flour, steam in the oven for a soft crust, overnight proving for bitter taste and a smaller second proving for small air holes. And that is the recipe that I'm sharing today!


Ingredients

  • 500g (4 1/3 cups) strong white flour (check note)
  • 350g (12.35oz) cold water
  • 10g (0.35oz) salt
  • 20g (0.7oz) baker's yeast
Note: The flour plays an important role in the way your bread will look and how it will taste. I used a T55 type of flour considering the Portuguese nomenclature. In Denmark, they identify the flour by the percentage of protein - in this case 12%. You can check here for different kinds of flour and how to identify them. Also, keep in mind that if you want a darker bread you should use a stronger flour (or a combination of two kinds). 

Instructions

Start by crumbling the yeast in the flour with your hands. Dissolve the salt in the water and add it to the flour and yeast.



Mix well and now it's time to work the dough. If kneading the dough by hand, it might take you 15-20 minutes. You want an elastic dough that doesn't break when pulled. Because you're using 70% water, the dough will be a bit wet and it will seem unmanageable at first. But it will soon become easier and it won't stick to your hands as much. Once you're done kneading, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it prove in the fridge overnight, or leave it out for 3-4 hours (or until it doubled in size). I like to keep it overnight so that it can acquire a sightly bitter taste.



The next day (or a few hours later), shape the dough and let it rise in a floured oven tray, until it has doubled in size. If you left the dough in the fridge overnight, it will take a while to get to room temperature and rise accordingly. Mine took about an hour. Cutting the dough on top is optional. Place a baking tin on the bottom of the oven with water, and bake in a preheated oven to 230ºC (450ºF) for 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 200ºC (400ºF) and bake for 30-40 minutes (the steam from the water will make the crust softer).


To check if the bread is baked properly, tap the bottom of the loaf and look for a hollow sound. Let it cool down before slicing it.


Serve and enjoy your homemade loaf of bread.



For a print friendly version visit this recipe at my Recipes page.

Apple Flan

I talked raisins and nuts last week and it wouldn't be right to skip cooking something with apples this autumn. Whenever I'm out of ideas for new recipes I just pick Pantagruel and look for inspiration. This recipe seemed simple enough and, more importantly, the main focus was on apples. The recipe called for Reinette apples. These apples originated in France and are oftentimes used as a cooking apples in Portugal. Unfortunately, I couldn't find them in Denmark and so I used Royal Gala instead. The result was a crunchy top, a flan like consistency on the bottom and an amazing aroma. 


Ingredients

  • 100g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 40g (1/3 cup) flour
  • 4 cooking apples
  • 1 egg
  • 2.5dl (1 cup) milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter (plus more butter for the baking dish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla sugar 

Instructions

Grease a baking dish with some butter. Wash your apples (I used Royal Gala but you can use other type of cooking apples).


Peel the apples, slice them in four and put them in some fresh water with a few drops of lemon. Finely slice the apples and place them on the bottom of the baking dish. I used a food processor and that is why it looks a bit messy, but I actually like how it came out in the end.


Dissolve the flour in the milk, add the egg and the vanilla and spread on top of the apples. Spread the sugar on top of everything.


Cut the butter in tiny bits and place it on top of the sugar. Bake in a preheated oven to 160ºC (320ºF) until it turns golden.


Serve warm or cold with a good cup of tea.


For a print friendly version visit this recipe at my Recipes page.

Broas do Bolinho

Now this is a first. I couldn't find an appropriate title in English for this post so there you go, good old Portuguese. We don't really celebrate Halloween in Portugal. Instead, on the 1st of November, children wake up early in the morning and go door-to-door asking for "Bolinho" or "Pão-por-Deus" - basically they get treats that can be in the form of these rolls I'm sharing today, chocolates, money or even walnuts/chestnuts if you're terribly unlucky. I'm not 100% certain they do this in the big cities, but I sure got to do it in Leiria and I loved it. 

The 1st of November is celebrated differently depending on the region you are from. For instance, if you're from the North of Portugal you might remember the dead on this day. However, in Center Portugal it's all about the treats for the children. As for the catholic adults, in some villages, you can leave flowers on your door as a symbol that you welcome a priest to come in your home and give you and your family a blessing (and get some cake and wine!). Or at least that's what used to happen 18 years ago. 

As for the recipe, it's from an aunt of mine who is known for baking the very best "broas", in the village she lives in. This was the first time that I tried baking these and they were kind of amazing. You might think that 1kg of flour is a lot, but you can freeze them and reheat them in the oven later, and I promise they will remain just as good. Also, the recipe calls for baker's yeast, but they don't need proving!


Ingredients

  • 1kg (8 1/3 cups) flour
  • 400g (1 2/3 cups) water 
  • 375g (a little less than 2 cups) sugar
  • 125g (1 stick) butter
  • 100g (3.5oz) raisins
  • 100g (3.5oz) walnuts
  • 25g (0.9oz) baker's yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10g (0.4oz) salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg yolk and some milk for the egg wash

Instructions

Start by mixing the flour, the sugar, the raisins, the walnuts, the cinnamon, the baking soda and the zest of the lemon. Melt the butter and add to the dough. 


Dissolve the yeast in a bit of lukewarm water and add it to the dough. Measure the necessary lukewarm water and dissolve the salt in it. Add it to the dough and mix just until the dough comes together. You should end up with a fairly tough dough. 


Shape the dough into rolls and brush them with a egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven to 200ºC (390ºF) until they're golden (~25 minutes).


And serve! They're great on their own but you can also have them with a bit of butter.



For a print friendly version visit this recipe at my Recipes page.