Red Sangria with a spicy kick

With the temperatures reaching the 38ºC/40ºC this Summer, Sangria soon became my favourite drink for Saturday night. Most of the recipes for sangria include wine and another alcohol beverage like a fruit liquor, vodka or any other of your taste. I prefer in this case a more plain recipe with the wine being the only alcohol and get the extra flavour from the fruit and by adding 2 or 3 spices.

I tested the recipe over the past two weeks, using new ingredients from my recent travels: The Indonesian long pepper by PepperMongers, from a trip to London, and preserved cherries from a visit to Casa de Juste farm in the North of Portugal.
The Indonesian long pepper, has a sweet taste and combines beautifully with cinnamon, when added to the Sangria it will leave you with a warm and spicy taste, after the first refreshing kick of any sangria. The preserved cherries add the sweetness of their syrup.

Peach, cherry syrup, cinnamon sticks, Indonesian long pepper catkins and preserved cherries.
Peach, cherry syrup, cinnamon sticks, Indonesian long pepper catkins and preserved cherries.
Chao das Rolas 2011, Portuguese Red Wine from Setubal Peninsula
Chao das Rolas 2011, Portuguese Red Wine from Setubal Peninsula

The ingredients:
500 ml of a good fruity red wine (I used Chão das Rolas, a portuguese red wine)
200 ml cherry syrup
1000 ml of lemon-lime flavoured soft drink (chilled)
1 big peach, peeled and diced
14 cherries preserved in syrup
3 cinnamon sticks
2 Indonesian long pepper catkins

1. Place the peach, the cherries, the cinnamon sticks, the pepper catkins and the cherry syrup in a large jug.
2. Pour the wine into the jug. Stir the ingredients.
3. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours, to allow the flavours to develop.
4. Add the chilled lemon-lime flavoured soft drink and some ice. Stir and serve immediately.
5. If you like strong sangria reduce the soft drink quantity to half. If you find it too strong you can keep adding the soft drink until it reaches your taste.

As you probably noticed there is no mint on this sangria, and there is a reason why: I’m not really a big fan of mint.

Bolinhos Bacalhau – Salt Cod Cakes

Bolinhos Bacalhau – Salt Cod Cakes

One of the most emblematic portuguese dishes that you are able to find in any cafe or restaurant without season restrains. It’s a flag dish from the Minho cuisine and especially for Porto city. Known as “bolinhos de bacalhau” in the North of Portugal and named “pasteis de bacalhau” in the Centre and South of the country.

An excellent recipe for codfish leftovers, therefore one that is always on my mind for Christmas Day or the day after.

Ingredients for 4 people:
250 g desalted salt cod
200 g potatoes
1/2 onion
1 tbsp of fresh parsley
15 ml of Port wine
3 to 4 eggs
Oil to deep fry

How to:
1. Boil the potatoes until fork tender.
2. Peel the boiled potatoes; use a fork or a food processor to mash the potatoes.
3. Poach the salt cod in water for 5 minutes.
4. Remove skin and bones from the boiled salt cod.
5. Shred the cod with your hands, with a help of a kitchen cloth, or you can even use a kitchen pestle.
6. Chop the onion.
7. Chop the fresh parsley.
8. In a bowl combine the mashed potatoes, cod, chopped onion, chopped parsley, Port wine. Season with salt, fresh ground black pepper and grated nutmeg.
9. Add the eggs one at a time. The number of eggs will change accordingly with the quality of the potatoes.
10. With the help of two soup spoons form the cakes, and deep-fry them in oil.




Serve the bolinhos de bacalhau with a green salad and a beans rice for a complete meal. Or simple as tapas or a snack.

You can also find them in the Brazilian cuisine, one of many Portuguese recipes that was merged into other cultures. It’s named “bolinhos de bacalhau” , but the way of doing it changes slightly: the desalted salt cod is used raw, and the mixture is done only with egg yolks, the whites are whisked into stiff peaks and then folded gently into the mixture.

Bom Proveito! (Enjoy it!)

Farofias – is this dessert a french influence?

Farofias – is this dessert a french influence?

A winning dessert, it’s impossible to eat just a portion.

It belongs to the traditional cuisine of the Estremadura region (where Lisbon is located), however as you will see, it resembles to the oeufs à la neige from the French cuisine, but instead of the caramel/praliné on top we use cinnamon powder, and we poach the whites in milk.
There is another Portuguese recipe, a conventual one called “Nuvens do Céu” (can be translated as Heaven’s Clouds) from an Alentejo’s Convent that uses chopped almonds and walnuts on top.

I am not an expert in cuisine’s history, so I can only make suppositions: were the French invasions back in 1807 responsible for this influence, or the other way around once the convent dates back to the XVII century? (If anyone knows please share it)

Curiosities aside let’s start this magnificent dessert, you will need:

250 g of sugar
6 eggs
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1125 ml of milk
1 lemon peel
1 cinnamon stick

1. Separate the whites and the yolks.
2. Whisk the whites into very stiff peaks. Add 50 g of sugar and continue to whisk.
3. In a sauce pan pour the milk, add the sugar, the lemon peel and the cinnamon stick. Bring to a medium heat.
4. When it starts to boil reduce temperature, it should boils gently.
5. With two soup spoons form the “quenelles” and poach it on the milk.
6. Turn the “quenelles” both sides to allow them to cook.
7. Remove it from the milk, and place it on a strainer, allow it to drain.
8. In a small bowl add the cornstarch and a couple of tablespoons of milk and stir, add the egg yolks and whisk.
9. Very carefully spoon some of the hot milk into this mixture and stir.
10. Add the mixture of milk, eggs yolks and cornstarch to the milk in the sauce pan. Stir and take it to a low heat. Allow the mixture to become thicker.
12. Place the poached egg whites on a large bowl
13. Pour the egg cream on top.
14. Sprinkle with cinnamon



Bom proveito! (Enjoy it!)