Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Devoutly to be wished........perchance to dream.. Aye, there's the rub

Saturday 18th June 2016 The first ever flea market in Castro Marim.

“As I stare at them, I can feel little invisible strings,silently tugging me towards them. I stop the car and jump out, I have to touch them. I have to play with them. They are one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.” If you don't buy them now, you may never see them again, I say to myself .Its 10 o´clock in the morning, a brusque German dealer steps forward from a camaraderie of beer drinking males, himself clutching a bottle of beer, announces the price he is asking, and says he accepts multibanco and credit cards. Shylock in Shakespeare´s Merchant of Venice comes to mind.I start to lose interest rapidly. I have encountered his sort before. Its not even worth bartering I thought.I walk despondently back to the car thinking shall I, should I, is it worth it?It was a beautiful object in working order but incomplete (the weights were missing),bargaining power or not? These scales are a piece of Portuguese culinary history and if I could give them a loving home where they could return to being used again, adorning our kitchen with its thick old walls, then who knows, I am sure they can share their own history of transactions involving a Portuguese grocer or market trader and their customers. Even though they would not match in any way, I could put them to practical use with the weights from my grandmothers scales.I come home and venture down again with the thespian 4 hours later but "sans eyes,sans teeth,sans everything" the scales have gone, the dealer has gone and the remainder of traders are packing up to leave two hours before the scheduled finishing time.Alas I will perchance to dream that these very same scales will return to the Castro Marim flea market next month on Saturday 16th July, when I learn from experience and take a buyers stand and strike a deal.I have since Googled Balança de merçearia, marca Medines de António Nunes and found the same model of these scales but in white enamel last selling at auction for €69 considerably less than half of the price the dealer was asking.
This happened to me once before in The Mercado de Ribeira in Lisboa.In reality, on this particular occasion my eye was drawn to a trader adorning a chain mail butchers apron, slivering presunto on the Maserati of meat slicers,the Rolls Royce of butchery equipment.The piece of equipment in question was The famous Berkel Antique floor standing Italian meat slicer.They are still produced today but the gentleman behind me assured me this was an original,and that i would be looking at parting with at least €5,000
to acquire one.It stood there like a vintage car, immaculate in polished burgundy and chrome.It had clearly been cared for and maintained since its incarnation.
An Alfa romeo gigolo gourmand on a fast track to paradise,in my dreams.I could never afford to own one of these,but maybe the apron, always on my wish list, might be affordable.I settled for a bottle of Prova Regio and a more than delicious Mercado lunch with good friends.

more in my price range perhaps?

 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Lagar de mesquita

Thursday 26 May 2016

Dear diary,some times it takes a while for recommendations from friends to sink in.Some of these came from friends who were restaurateurs themselves and others,Casa rosada guests who were travelling through the east Algarve and had dined there.The common denominator among them all however was an agreement about probably one of the most delightful and stylish restaurants in the East Algarve.Lagar de Mesquita is in a very small village between São Brás de Alportel and Tavira. In your search for this off the beaten gastronomic nirvana,be prepared to get wonderfully lost in the network of rural lanes that so typify the Algarvian Barrocal.Driving around these narrow roads makes getting lost so much fun, but not if you are the driver.The fascination is for the passengers to become involved with the details of the landscape.The wild flowers, the bushes, the colours the crops and the cottages with their traditional Noras (wells).When you finally arrive, stimulated by the landscape you have just driven through, the exterior is nothing to write home about, just a typical rather nondescript Portuguese facade.But just wait till you see inside to get the ambiance.Well we had finally made it after about two years of recommendations, my name was written all over it ,my kind of place.High expectation splendidly matched a more than beautiful reality.First off,it was here that I learnt that the word Lagar meant olive press and that is how I discovered that one of my favourite dishes Polvo a lagareiro came to be named.If lagar was the mill then O lagareiro was the owner.Gudrun Tschiggeri, an Austrian expat, has transformed the interior into a sophisticated and cosmopolitan space for international dining. In the spacious dining room you are wined and dined surrounded by unusual art and pieces of distressed antique furniture, all for sale. Besides the food almost everything can be bought, including several items of clothing hanging on a coat rack as you enter.There is also an outdoor terrace and garden.Some of our favourite choices from our lunch were..... 

 Delicious food, an innovative and extensive wine list, attentive service (but not over the top napkin flappers), charming ambience, delightful decor - everything about this place rocks.Off the beaten track but well worth making the effort. 
It took the recommendation of cool visiting friends from London for us to learn about and experience this delightful restaurant. Lagar da Mesquita is in the center of a very small village, just to the east of São Brás de Alportel on the way to Tavira. From the outside, Lagar da Mesquita is a nondescript traditional Portuguese structure; but step inside, to enjoy fresh Mediterranean cuisine in a modern ambiance. -------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------- What was once a large olive mill (lagar) is now a popular modern restaurant. Austrian expat Gudrun Tschiggerl purchased the already-renovated mill and transformed it into a rustic and casual, yet sophisticated and cosmopolitan space for international dining and live entertainment. Several distinct areas make Lagar da Mesquita a nice place to visit no matter your mood. A terrace and garden are ideal for summer lunches and warm Algarvian evenings. The inside dining room is open and spacious, with art from Azeitão artist Lina Vaz adorning virtually every niche and ledge. An airy central lounge features cushioned sofa and chairs, and grand piano. It’s a comfortable spot to spend your pre- or post-dinner hours. Lagar da Mesquita Lagar da Mesquita Chef Nelson Viegas is in the kitchen creating delicious Mediterranean-inspired dishes that don’t disappoint. Some favorites from our visit include: ■ Sautéed shrimps with garlic (200 g) ■ Gratinated goat cheese with black pepper, honey and mushroom ■ Homemade wild mushroom paté with Port wine, fig compote and toast ■ Harissa marinated tuna steak with fresh green beans and a black olive-cherry tomato salsa ■ Poached sole fillet stuffed with salmon mousse on sautéed spinach in a saffron-mussels sauce ■ Pan fried squid Algarvian style with roasted potato and seasonal salad ■ Pan fried guinea fowl breast with beans stew and glazed chestnuts ■ Lamb shank North African style with spices and roasted pumpkin ■ Venison loin with rosemary jus, celery-ginger purée, red cabbage and blueberry jam ■ Homemade lemon or mango cream ■ Homemade apple tart with vanilla ice-cream ■ Homemade tiramisú The menu also features salads and pastas. Lagar da Mesquita Lamb shank North African style with spices and roasted pumpkin

Read more at: http://portugalconfidential.com/lagar-da-mesquita-modern-mediterranean-cuisine-in-sao-bras-algarve/
It took the recommendation of cool visiting friends from London for us to learn about and experience this delightful restaurant. Lagar da Mesquita is in the center of a very small village, just to the east of São Brás de Alportel on the way to Tavira. From the outside, Lagar da Mesquita is a nondescript traditional Portuguese structure; but step inside, to enjoy fresh Mediterranean cuisine in a modern ambiance. -------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------- What was once a large olive mill (lagar) is now a popular modern restaurant. Austrian expat Gudrun Tschiggerl purchased the already-renovated mill and transformed it into a rustic and casual, yet sophisticated and cosmopolitan space for international dining and live entertainment. Several distinct areas make Lagar da Mesquita a nice place to visit no matter your mood. A terrace and garden are ideal for summer lunches and warm Algarvian evenings. The inside dining room is open and spacious, with art from Azeitão artist Lina Vaz adorning virtually every niche and ledge. An airy central lounge features cushioned sofa and chairs, and grand piano. It’s a comfortable spot to spend your pre- or post-dinner hours. Lagar da Mesquita Lagar da Mesquita Chef Nelson Viegas is in the kitchen creating delicious Mediterranean-inspired dishes that don’t disappoint. Some favorites from our visit include: ■ Sautéed shrimps with garlic (200 g) ■ Gratinated goat cheese with black pepper, honey and mushroom ■ Homemade wild mushroom paté with Port wine, fig compote and toast ■ Harissa marinated tuna steak with fresh green beans and a black olive-cherry tomato salsa ■ Poached sole fillet stuffed with salmon mousse on sautéed spinach in a saffron-mussels sauce ■ Pan fried squid Algarvian style with roasted potato and seasonal salad ■ Pan fried guinea fowl breast with beans stew and glazed chestnuts ■ Lamb shank North African style with spices and roasted pumpkin ■ Venison loin with rosemary jus, celery-ginger purée, red cabbage and blueberry jam ■ Homemade lemon or mango cream ■ Homemade apple tart with vanilla ice-cream ■ Homemade tiramisú The menu also features salads and pastas. Lagar da Mesquita Lamb shank North African style with spices and roasted pumpkin

Read more at: http://portugalconfidential.com/lagar-da-mesquita-modern-mediterranean-cuisine-in-sao-bras-algarve/
It took the recommendation of cool visiting friends from London for us to learn about and experience this delightful restaurant. Lagar da Mesquita is in the center of a very small village, just to the east of São Brás de Alportel on the way to Tavira. From the outside, Lagar da Mesquita is a nondescript traditional Portuguese structure; but step inside, to enjoy fresh Mediterranean cuisine in a modern ambiance. -------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------- What was once a large olive mill (lagar) is now a popular modern restaurant. Austrian expat Gudrun Tschiggerl purchased the already-renovated mill and transformed it into a rustic and casual, yet sophisticated and cosmopolitan space for international dining and live entertainment. Several distinct areas make Lagar da Mesquita a nice place to visit no matter your mood. A terrace and garden are ideal for summer lunches and warm Algarvian evenings. The inside dining room is open and spacious, with art from Azeitão artist Lina Vaz adorning virtually every niche and ledge. An airy central lounge features cushioned sofa and chairs, and grand piano. It’s a comfortable spot to spend your pre- or post-dinner hours. Lagar da Mesquita Lagar da Mesquita Chef Nelson Viegas is in the kitchen creating delicious Mediterranean-inspired dishes that don’t disappoint. Some favorites from our visit include: ■ Sautéed shrimps with garlic (200 g) ■ Gratinated goat cheese with black pepper, honey and mushroom ■ Homemade wild mushroom paté with Port wine, fig compote and toast ■ Harissa marinated tuna steak with fresh green beans and a black olive-cherry tomato salsa ■ Poached sole fillet stuffed with salmon mousse on sautéed spinach in a saffron-mussels sauce ■ Pan fried squid Algarvian style with roasted potato and seasonal salad ■ Pan fried guinea fowl breast with beans stew and glazed chestnuts ■ Lamb shank North African style with spices and roasted pumpkin ■ Venison loin with rosemary jus, celery-ginger purée, red cabbage and blueberry jam ■ Homemade lemon or mango cream ■ Homemade apple tart with vanilla ice-cream ■ Homemade tiramisú The menu also features salads and pastas. Lagar da Mesquita Lamb shank North African style with spices and roasted pumpkin

Read more at: http://portugalconfidential.com/lagar-da-mesquita-modern-mediterranean-cuisine-in-sao-bras-algarve/

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Pescada em caldo de ervilha e alho-poró,um prato tributo

A delicate ,summer dish in which the fish is spiked with anchovy butter and served with a broth of the "juices" of young leeks and peas.Sounds promising ?As I developed this dish I was not sure that it was going to emerge as the dish I had imagined.After making the leek broth I thought it looked a bit on the robust and heavy side,however when I re-heated the broth to poach the fish in, it thinned out and when I removed the fish and added the peas and parsley I was left with a beautifully cooked dish that was fresh and light and I could only describe as "of restaurant standards".The irony here is that the recipe that I took as my starting point was originally a restaurant dish created by the controversial and highly successful Catalan master chef Santi Santamaria, one of the most celebrated Catalan chefs and the first in Spain to be awarded three Michelin stars. Santamaria was one of the leading figures in the huge boom in Catalan cuisine over the past 20 years.
Santi Santamaria
(26 July 1957 – 16 February 2011)

A self taught chef, like myself, he teamed traditional Catalan recipes with French nouvelle cuisine insisting on the importance of locally sourced fresh produce.He was considered a leading ambassador of Catalan cuisine.He died suddenly of a heart attack in 2011, aged 53, while showing journalists round the kitchen in his new and third restaurant in Singapore.So this recipe which I have altered quite considerably  pays tribute to the late great Santi Santamaria.I hope that he would have approved  my own interpretation of his original dish.
Hake in a pea and leek broth
serves 4
1 fresh hake, 2kg /4lb 8oz approx.Divided into two fillets
100g / 31/2 oz anchovy butter
2 tablespoons finely snipped chives
300g young peas
1tbsp chopped parsley

FOR THE LEEK BROTH
250g /9oz potatoes
500g 1lb 2oz leek
250g / 9oz carrot
2tbsp olive oil
Flor de sal

Take the two fillets off the hake. Dry with paper towel.Spread the anchovy butter over the underside of each fillet,scatter with the chives, and sandwich the two fillets together. Set aside. Lightly blanch the peas in boiling water.drain and cool under  cold water.
TO MAKE THE LEEK BROTH, peel and chop the vegetables.Heat the oil in a casserole and lightly fry potato for 10 minutes.Add the carrot and lightly fry for 10 minutes.Add the leeks and gently fry for 10 minutes.Add 1 litre /13/4 pints of stock,and cook gently for 30 minutes. Add salt to taste. Cut the fish "roll"into four portions.Place into the leek broth.Cover and gently poach for around eight minutes, until the fish is just cooked.Remove the fish and place on four pre-warmed dinner plates.Add the peas and chopped parsley to the broth and heat.Spoon the broth and vegetables around each fish and serve.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Geleia ameixas faz gostos e um tipo de ameixas secas caseiros

 Ameixas pequenas tipo Faz Gostos

I found these gorgeous red plums on Dona Isabel´s stall in the market.I was looking for damsons to make jam. I had seen damsons in previous years but hadn´t been able to source them this year, so I thought I would try and see if these would make a suitable alternative. What genus of plum these were I was not sure.They were certainly ameixa pequena (small plums)but could they be ameixa de damasco (apricot plums) as they were yellow fleshed.Dona Isabel told me they were ameixa Faz Gostos which did not really mean much to me. I supposed it was like the difference between English varietals Victoria and Early river plums.I came home, got the preserving pan out and set to work stoning them.I had difficulty getting them to reach setting point so had to goad them on with the help of a little fructose.Not something I normally use but in this eventuality necessary.I stirred in a little shredded fresh ginger to pep it up a little and the result has proved popular with our most recent guests. Anyway it is good to experiment and have something a little different in the store cupboard but I look forward to making my  beyond delicious plum and ginger jam... in the autumn.


I have just had great fun learning how to dry plums at home.Since I don't own a dehydrator  I used my conventional oven to do the job.Besides the energy costs, which have to be seriously considered, there aren´t any other hindrances. On the contrary, it will be amazing to eat my homemade plums which look a lot more like big sized raisins than prunes.
My prunes are small, because my plums were small red ones, but they taste like the best prunes I have ever tried. They are sweet, tasty, soft and juicy and I selected the best plums to be dried. It is essential  that the plums to be dried are ripe but not over ripe, washed and dried so the natural wax of the fruits is slightly removed.The dried prunes can be canned in sterilized jars and they can last, unfortunately not as long as jam but they can resist pretty well protected from humidity and heat.


Homemade Dried Plums

3 to 4 cups of perfectly ripe plums
1 dry and clean big sheet pan

Depending on the size of your plums you can either dry them on awire rack which is the optimum way as the air will circulate around them, but obviously if they are small they will fall through the rack so you will have to dry them flat.
Transfer plums to a baking try lined with parchment paper and let them dry in a previously heated oven at 80C for 12 hours. Check the fruits and if they are inflated with air make some holes on theirs skins with a tooth pick or a fork. Let them dry for another 12 hours and they will be dry but juicy and soft. If your plums are small and still haven´t reached the desired stage after 24 hours let them cook for another 6 hours checking every two hours to certify that they did not over dry. Transfer to sterilized jars and keep the jars in cool dry places.
Alternatively they can be frozen in batches in ziploc bags.
Drying plums at home is an act of love and patience but you will be rewarded with the most sweet and tasty prunes you have ever tried. Good prunes require extremely good, sweet and ripe plums. Try eating your home made prunes with natural yogurt and a drizzle of honey.





Thursday, 9 June 2016

Grilled goats cheese red pepper salad and Manteiga de azeite

There are a few summer staples I just can´t do without. Goats cheese, red peppers and basil are but just three.This starter brings together strong contrasting flavours and a proper marriage of classic cuisine and bistro style cooking.Back in the day It was a popular favourite on the summer menu of my then catering business in London. I decided just this week that I would bring it back, put its popularity to the test of time by putting it on the menu here at Casa Rosada.The greatest plus about this dish for me is the minimum of pressure that can be achieved by the ability to prepare the ingredients in advance and just assemble them when required.
… Manteiga de Azeite ®
For the garnish of the salad I drizzled Manteiga de azeite, a unique product created  by Chef Renato Cunha at Restaurante Ferrugem in the little village of Portela, 45 minutes drive from Porto.





Grilled goats cheese red pepper salad 
with Manteiga de azeite
 serves 4 

1 x 180g goats cheese (chevre) log cut into 12 slices for 4 portions

FOR THE PEPPERS
2 red peppers, halved and seeded
Mixed salad leaves of your choice
Droplets of  manteiga de azeite or basil oil
Coat the peppers in some extra virgin olive oil.Roast 15 minutes skin side down in a very hot oven.turn and continue to roast for five minutes more.

TO SERVE
Pile a mound of dressed salad leaves in the centre of each plate.Lay a heated pepper half on top.Put three overlapping slices of chevre in the pepper shell.Squeeze droplets of manteiga de azeite or basil oil around the plate.Fire a gas gun at the cheese,just long enough for the whey to run off it.Wait a few  seconds then give the cheese a second burst with the gun to colour it.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Waiter there´s ice in my soup.Chill out


What is it with the British and cold soup? We´ll gladly eat most everything else from European kitchens,yet we completely freak if our soup is not hot.
When you think of soup, you usually envision wrapping yourself up in a blanket on a cold winter's night and having a hot mug to warm you up. These chilled soups do the exact opposite.When the heat is on these three soups can keep you cool during the scorching summer, while still boasting some fabulous flavour. Here are my choice of three new summer soups to lift you up and cool you down!
As a child, I always looked forward to summer when my mother would prepare wonderful cold soups. I still remember being sent to the garden to get fresh chives to garnish the vichyssoise! Back then cold soups were very unusual, and most of my friends had never heard of them. - See more at: http://www.alive.com/food/cold-soups/#sthash.vzZyUiKG.dpuf
 I continue my research and development of new recipes for the coming season (and as pictured above) going through to the final selection of starters for barmy summer evenings is a Chilled watercress, pea and pear soup.Sweet peas and peppery watercress are a perfect match for early summer, but by giving it an exotic textural twist with the addition of crisp, fragrant dressed Portuguese Rocha pears it takes it to another level.Having already included pears in the main ingredients I cut fine crescents of pear and dressed them in caster sugar and lemon juice to float in the soup as garnish

Chilled watercress pea and pear soup 
(pictured above)

2 onions
40gms of butter
500gms of frozen or fresh peas
large handful of garden mint
2 ripe pears peeled cored and chopped plus one extra for garnish
1l of vegetable stock
80gms of watercress
Flor de sal, pepper
Cream (optional)

FOR THE DRESSED PEAR
Peel the pear, remove the core then cut into fine strips and dress with the lemon juice and sugar
1 small Rocha pear
1/2 lemon
1 tsp caster sugar

Peel and chop the onions and fry in the butter on a gentle heat until soft. Add the peas and peeled and chopped pear to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes or so. Add the stock and gently simmer for around 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely before stirring in the watercress. Allow to cool a little and then liquidise until completely smooth. Chill overnight and serve with a little cream(optional) and the dressed pears.the top

Watermelon Gazpacho
Inspired by Chef Marco´s recent menu presentation at Cha com agua salgada, I promised I would share with you a new take on the theme of gazpacho.This is not Marco´s recipe but a great variation to “dip your toe” into the world of gazpacho (unintentional rhyming). It’s very light,fresh, sweet, spicy, and zesty all in the same quaff. All perfect characteristics for a summer soup.
2 large tomatoes, seeded and skinned
2 serrano chillies
2 shallots, minced
4 cups cubed fresh watermelon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cucumber, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, 
Flor de sal and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
In a blender, place all the ingredients and blitz.taste to adjust seasoning. Puree until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses and sprinkle with sumac. Serve.

Chilled roasted tomato soup with angostura
Most of us have heard of Angostura Bitters, and probably have an aged bottle in our pantry somewhere for use in the occasional Manhattan or other classic cocktail.
Made with the same original secret recipe since 1824, the world famous Angostura® aromatic bitters remains the quintessential and definitive ingredient for classic and contemporary cocktails.But who would have thought of putting a dash or two of it in our cooking. Its versatility stretches way beyond the bar counter as it serves as a unique flavour enhancer with the ability to marry flavours in the preparation of all food dishes. It also adds its unmistakable flavour and aroma to dressings and desserts.It is also 100% Vegan for those of that persuasion.
The bitters are  not bitter when added to food and drink, but have the ability to marry flavours. It works by enhancing the flavour of ingredients in food and drink preparations, thereby bringing out the best in them without masking their true flavour.
serves 4 
900g /2lb ripe plum tomatoes,halved
1 garlic clove crushed
3 tbsp Angostura bitters
150ml /5fl oz extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon muscavado sugar 
Flor de sal and freshly ground pepper
Vodka to taste
sour cream (optional)
Chives (optional )
Pre-heat the oven to 450F /230C / gas 8  
Toss all the ingredients,except the vodka,sour cream and chives,together in a large roasting tin and season with salt and pepper.Cook in the oven for 30 minutes. transfer the tomatoes to a food  processor and blitz.Pass through asieve to catch the pips and skin.Add 150ml (5 fl oz ) water,taste and adjust the seasoning.Serve chilled with a dash of vodka added to the soup just before serving.If you wish,decorate the soup with a swirl of sour cream,a sprinkling of chopped chives and a splash of Angostura.



 

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Vanilla cream terrine with fruit coulis



I'm not really a dessert kind of guy,never have been, but put a bowl of crinkle cut crisps or wasabi peanuts in front of me, however, and I'll have my nose in there like a snout in a trough. I needed a replacement dessert to fill the gap left in the menu plan for a client who hadrejected baba au rhum as the choice of pudding.I dipped into my Delia (why do we always forget Delia).She is so reliable, not always in her method, but in that hour of need when one needs a simple solution she's always there for you.This recipe is a classic Delia "Vanilla cream terrine with raspberries and blackcurrant coulis" I have made it many times before and it has never failed me. I thought I better give it another practice run.It looks like a block of tofu.Tofu's a difficult thing to love but this amazing dessert is so far removed from a soft block of coagulated soya milk that it will take you to heaven and send vegans running.
It´s basically just a big block of cream with some berries drizzled over it.  The base is double cream, Greek yogurt, vanilla and gelatine to set it. Pretty much like a panna cotta panoply.The topping is a blueberry or blackcurrant coulis, with raspberries and mint leaves  This delicious hoover-able dessert consists of an entire carton of double cream, and most of a tub of Greek yogurt, and a whole load of sugar, and thats just for the basic six person serving.I am feeding 20 so I think tub will turn into bucket and carton will turn into jumbo tetra pack.There´s fun, and a shelf of the freezer given up overnight.

Just as a foot note it was a resounding success

Monday, 16 May 2016

Apresentãçao carta -Cha com agua salgada

                                                    (de cima para baixo)     PHOTO JORGE RAIADO

Cheesecake de queijo da ilha de S.Jorge com coulis de pimentos e composto por rucula 
 Folhada de mousse de cavala com betteraba marinada
Tiberna de muxama de atum com laranja e coentros frescos

 Once again this week it was time for Chá Com Àgua Salgada`s menu presentation and the chance for another lovely memorable evening with friends, colleagues and business associates.How quickly this yearly event comes around. Doesn´t time fly when you are enjoying yourself,its always the case.The evening flew by with delicious and inventive  dishes chef Marco created for us from the new menu.The evening even produced a culinary  witticism, "tanned" scallops.Tanned must be the new seared for 2016.So be you the first to know it.Perhaps our dinner plates will soon be sporting tanned food with black accessories.No seriously, to retire from a bout on the beach and partake of a tanned scallop for lunch is just so appropriate.
I had several favourites from the nine course degustation, but  I am not going to give too much away.More on the story of how one can create a new take on watermelon later.Thank you from all of us  to Paolo, Sandra and of course Marco and his team

A nova carta Disponivel a partir de 21maio de 2016
The new menu will be available from 21st may

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Natural cave ripened blue vein cheese remembered

 Are you stuck on Stilton or gaga for Gouda? Do you crave Camembert? And have you come across Cabrales? If so, you just might be what is called a turophile, the ultimate cheese lover. From an irregular formation of the Greek word for cheese, tyros, plus the English -phile, meaning "lover" (itself a descendant of the Greek -philos, meaning "loving"), turophile first named cheese aficionados as early as 1938.
My two all time favourite cheeses are both blue veined and unfortunately happen to be very hard to find.Dolcelatte  is a blue veined Italian soft cheese. The cheese is made from cow's milk, and has a sweet taste. Its name translates from Italian to 'sweet milk' in English.Dolcelatte was developed for the British market to provide a milder smelling and tasting alternative to the famous traditional Italian blue cheese, Gorgonzola,and that is probably why it is impossible to find in the Algarve. My best loved cheese however is the Spanish Cabrales.
All Spanish blue cheeses come from the same geographical area in the Picos de Europa mountain range in north-central Spain or, more specifically, in the triangle formed by the provinces of León, Asturias and Cantabria, a natural paradise for cheese-making. The many natural caves in which the cheeses are stored while ripening offer ideal conditions for spontaneous generation of the mold. Some of these cheeses, such as  Cabrales, are the Spanish contribution to the top-ranking blue cheeses, standing alongside Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Stilton. Last weekend at a party which casa rosada was catering two guests who we had met on a previous occasion hosted by the same person, presented us with a cabrales cheese.How exhilirated was I and thank you so much Philip and Karen of Rippon cheese in London.
The advice given in the proverb 'don't look a gift horse in the mouth is: when receiving a gift be grateful for what it is; don't imply you wished for more by assessing its value.We certainly didn´t. 
If Cabrales is difficult to find in your area, it can be ordered on-line.Tienda.com is one source but it is also available in the Uk from Brindisa and also our kind donors Rippon Cheese

What to drink with Cabrales: Not many wines can accompany the intense flavor of Cabrales cheese without being wiped out on the palate. An aged Oloroso sherry, with sweet hints, is a good alternative to offset the sting and to harmonize with the cheese's creamy texture,my second choice would of course be Albariño. This fragrant Spanish white varietal is a smooth match, and make sure you have plenty of fresh crusty bread to hand.Cabrales is also excellent for melting on a fine steak.

A bite of heavenly Spanish tapas

Bocaditos de Cabrales
100 gr Cabrales cheese
30 gr flour
500 ml semi-skimmed milk
salt
15 gr butter
1 egg
300 gr breadcrumbs
olive oil
Blend the Cabrales cheese, flour, milk and salt in a blender or food processor. Melt the butter in a saucepan and slowly add the mixture of cheese, milk and flour stirring all the time. Cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture reaches boiling point. Pour the cheese paste into a wide dish and let it cool completely. Once the paste is cold, cut it into small bite-sized portions. Dip the cheese bites into the beaten egg and then cover them with breadcrumbs. Fry the cheese bites in a generous amount of hot olive oil. Serve hot.
Thank you again Philip and Karen for "remembering" and presenting us with this great cheese.Needless to say it has all been eaten.
Should you want to purchase some Cabrales yourself,visit their shop pictured above in Pimlico.
020 7931 0628 or 020 7931 0668
Mon - Fri 8.00 - 16.30
Sat 8.30 - 17.00
Sun closed

Monday, 9 May 2016

The new kid on the block "La petite france"


Its always exciting when a new venture opens,particularly after the demise of what was once the charming and rustic Bar Poeta with its mis-matched furniture.Fond memories of a balmy summers evening with a glass of wine sitting on the cobbles outside.Sadly it has now become yet another expat music and sports bar that Tavira so does not need any more of. Well, on the opposite side of the street something promising has opened and caught my eye.The entrance looked inviting,that´s always a good start.It was early evening and a small party of French customers were enjoying a glass of Bordeaux or two.I did not stop as I was in a hurry but kept it in my back head for another day and to share with and recommend to friends.
It is always encouraging to see new places with a difference opening,This is a breath of sunshine. A place where you feel good, enjoy good tapas, and quaff good wines. Congratulations to Bruno for his courage and boldness.With a plate of magret de canard, foie gras  toast and some gorgeousness of wittily cooked egg in front of me what more could I want? Just a glass or two of Bordeaux Blanc perhaps.Well I for sure know which side of the street I want to be on.This is highly recommend as a lovely place to sit and relax with a very helpful and friendly owner.

Um cantinho escondido de cariz Francês perdido no meio de Tavira... 

planchette excellente


R. Poeta. Emiliano da Costa 37, 8800-357 Tavira