Pasteis de Massa Tenra – The First Recipe

Pasteis de Massa Tenra – The First Recipe

This was the first “real” recipe I made with only 7 years old (not all by myself), after learning the basics my father thought me one of his favourite recipes: Pastéis de Massa Tenra – a kind of deep fried dumpling.
I recall of beating the dough, tasting the filling and cutting the dumplings with a glass, all the other tasks were more of a watch and learn cooking class. At the end there was flour all over the kitchen! I believe it’s one of the joys of cooking with children.

Even with me helping, we managed to keep some of the dough to make a very special treat – little dumplings filled with tomato jam (my mom’s idea to not trash any dough). Nowadays I always add 1/2 recipe to be sure I have enough dough for the sweet version.

Pasteis Massa Tenra
Deep fried Pasteis Massa Tenra
A sweet treat: filled with tomato jam.
My sweet version: filled with tomato jam.

This is a very flexible recipe, as you can do the “pastéis” smaller and serve them as a snack/tapas at a party, or you can do the regular size ones and serve with a salad or rice to have a complete meal. It’s also one of many ways to use meat leftovers.

Roll up your sleeves and let’s get started!
I always thought that the way you feel reflects on your cooking, on a bad day your recipe will not come as good as on a good and cheerful day. However in this recipe we do need some of that bad day anger, there’s a dough that needs to be beaten.
For the dough:
250 gr of Flour
150 ml of Water
2 Tbsp of butter

1. Place the flour on top of your kitchen counter, open a hole
2. Warm the water enough to be tepid
3. Dissolve the salt in the water, add the butter.
4. Pour the water inside the hole and gently mix with the flour
5. Beat the dough for 5 minutes. (punches are allowed)
6. Let it rest for 1 hour

For the filling (made from scratch):
500g of beef
200g of chouriço (portuguese chorizo)
1 big onion
50 ml of Olive oil
200 ml of milk
2 Tbsp of flour
Salt and pepper

1. Peel and cut the onion
2. On a press cooker place the onion, the olive oil, the beef and the chorizo (remove the skin). Let it cook for about 45 minutes.
3. Let it rest. As soon as it is at room temperature, process the beef, chorizo and onion on a food processor.
4. Keep the meat juices in the press cooker. Add the meat mixture. Stir in the flour. Add the milk.
5. Take it to a medium heat and let the mixture become ticker.
6. It’s ready when it loses itself from the pan.
7. Let it cool.

For assembling the dumplings:
1. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough.
2. Place a small spoonful of the filling into the center, fold over, cut using a glass (or a biscuit cutter). And press together with your fingers.
3. Repeat procedure with the remaining dough and filling.

For frying:
Oil to deep fry the “pastéis”.

You may know another kind of Portuguese deep fry dumpling – Rissóis – but only the shape it’s similar; the dough, the filling and the breadcrumb crust makes it very different.

Do you remember what was your “first” recipe?

Beldroegas Soup – a weed on your plate

Beldroegas Soup – a weed on your plate

This week at the Farmer’s Market Mr. João had a few bunches of beldroegas for sale. In the Portuguese cuisine the beldroegas, a succulent weed that grows easily in the fields or in our gardens, is added to salads or cooked in soups.

I believe that you may know beldroegas by one of these names: Purslane, Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little Hogweed, Pursley or Moss rose (any other? Let me know and I will add it, or correct it). Maybe the picture will help:


I was not carving for a salad but for something with poached eggs in it. Like my friend Isabel at Family Foodie says: this obsession for eggs is a Portuguese thing!

But then another question needed to be asked: should I go for the beans or the cheese soup? There are both delicious, and made with the same broth base so what’s the difference? The cheese soup has this unique way of combining a hot soup with fresh cheese, something that I only recall of seeing on Mexican cuisine – the Caldo de queso.

I was willing to make the fresh cheese soup, but family wanted the beans soup and my “customers” always have the final word. I will make the fresh cheese soup on another time because it’s one of that many fun childhood memories I have and want to revive.

In fact not only the Alentejo’s beldroega and the fresh cheese soup is on my to-do list but also the “tomatada” soup. Tomatada is a tomato soup with poached eggs (again), let the tomato season reaches it’s peek and sweetness (which occurs around August/September) and I will share the recipe with you.

By this time you should already realise that there is a poached egg in every soup I mentioned, well that’s a characteristic of many of the Alentejo’s soups, the soup is the meal, and the egg would replace the lack of meat or fish at many households.


You will need for 4 people:
2 bunches of beldroegas (purslane)
800 g potatoes
150 g onion
1 head of garlic
200g white beans – optional (I used pinto beans instead – it’s called “feijão catarino” here in Portugal)
4 eggs
Bread (Alentejo’s bread)
Olive oil
Sea salt to season

1. Peel and slice the onions
2. Wash the beldroegas, handpick just the leaves
3. In a pot add the olive oil and cook the onions until soft
4. Add the beldroegas leaves and let cook until soft
5. Add 2 liters of hot water
6. Add the head of the garlic (remove all the white skin, but leave the skin of each garlic clove)
7. Bring to boil
8. Add the diced potatoes
9. Add the beans (already cooked)
10. Season with salt to your taste
11. As soon as the potatoes are cooked, poach the eggs in the soup. Cover the pot and cook until whites are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
12. Assembling the soup: cut the bread in very thin slices, cover the bottom of the bowl with the bread, spoon the soup and carefully place the poached egg. Serve immediately.
Bom proveito! (Enjoy it!)


From the marriage of Orange and Eggs

From the marriage of Orange and Eggs

orangerollCalling out all Orange lovers, this recipe is for you! The amazing power a single orange can bring to this roll is way beyond my capacity to describe it. And you can add it to your list of “I can’t stop eating it”.
Once more it’s heavy on eggs and sugar (well it’s Portuguese, you couldn’t be expecting something else) and it’s typical from the Estremadura region (where Lisbon is located). Although the orange flavour cuts the extreme egg taste that some other Portuguese desserts have, which I understand isn’t much appreciated by some of you.

You will need:
8 eggs
500g sugar
1 Orange (juice and zest)
2 Tbsp of flour

1. In a large bowl place the eggs and sugar. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Add the orange juice and grated zest. Whisk heavily.
3. Sprinkle the flour. Whisk one more time.
4. Butter and flour a jelly roll pan, or you can line the cake pan with parchment (baking paper).
5. Pour the mixture into the cake pan.
6. Cook in a preheated oven at 200ºC for around 20 minutes.
7. Take a cocktail stick to poke the top of the cake slightly in the middle. If it is dry the cake is done. Don’t over cook it, otherwise it will break when rolled.
8. Let it rest and cool for 5 minutes. Loose the edges of the cake from the pan with a knife.
9. Line a kitchen towel over your kitchen counter/table.
10. Sprinkle the kitchen towel with sugar (or icing sugar)
11. Turn out the cake on top of the towel. Peel the parchment (if you used it).
12. With the help of the towel roll the cake.

You can find similar orange rolls in cafés, supermarkets and at the Farmer’s Market. Like in all issues related to food some are good others are made of glue (they are heavy and flavourless – you are not able to even spot the egg flavour and the orange is only in it’s name). How to know before you buy? There are three signs you should be aware: if it seems to you too dry, if it doesn’t shine or if doesn’t have a similar consistency to a pudding/cake.

At my house this is the kind of dessert that only lasts for a couple of hours. I hope you enjoy it that much too.

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!)