Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Offally Home made

I must say how much I enjoyed Tim Haywards `How to make pate`post on Guardian word of Mouth today. It not only made me chuckle, but from reading the comments that followed I gleaned the fact that you shouldn´t eat pate if you are pregnant. I´ve filed this in my backhead for August when Casa Rosada will have a pregnant guest staying in the house. As I said in the comment I posted I don´t know how to classify the mousse/ pate / paste that emerges from my processor. But I promised that I would post the recipe later.
I am following it with a recipe for Lentil pate to appease the vegetarian / vegan camp.

Here is my Chicken liver pate(or, God help us, 'parfait')

Chicken Liver Pate
a marriage of Heston Blumenthal and Valentina Harris!!!!

I think Heston was probably going for posh mousse and Valentina bless her was looking to achieve something more coarse and rustic on a bruschetta, I am looking to achieve something halfway between the two

I large onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 sticks of celery chopped
2 handfuls of finely chopped falt leaf parsley
5 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
( like the estate bottled Casa margherita)
250g unsalted butter
500g chicken livers
250ml dry white wine
60ml maciera, or good quality brandy
2 heaped tablespoons tomato puree
salt and pepper
100g rinsed capers ( optional )

Fry the onion,carrots ,celery and parsley in the olive oil and half the butter.
cook until the vegetables are soft, then add the chicken livers, mixing them in well.
Add the wine and brandy. Allow the liquor to evaporate for a few minutes,
then add the tomato puree. Season well with salt and pepper.
Cover the pan and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
Process the mixture with the remaining butter.
Add the capers and briefly process again with the pulse button.
Decant the mixture into a pate dish or ceramic terrine and leave to set overnight.

It freezes well in portioned containers.

Spiced Lentil Pate

2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 medium onion chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

2 teaspoons home made curry powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon piri piri powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 cup dried lentils, rinsed well

2 cups marigold bouillon
1 teaspoon sea salt
ground black pepper
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan
add the onion, garlic and spices and saute gently until the onion is soft.
Add the lentils and water , bring to the boil, add the seasonings,
cover and simmer over a low heat for 1 hour or until lentils are cooked.
Add more stock during the cooking if necessary.Remove from the heat and drain.
Pre-heat the oven to 4ooF. Puree the mixture in a processor.
Adjust the seasoning and pour into a greased ovenproof pate dish or terrine.
Cover with foil and bake for one hour.
Cool and refrigerate.

This can also be frozen.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Getting it right on the night

Inspiration can and should stem from customers likes, dislikes, allergies and intolerances and influence what we are cooking. It can be a great challenge.

I have just had to rise to the challenge of creating a dairy free anniversary dinner and dairy free breakfast the following morning.Oh joy, I thought where do I begin, I want to make it special for them but the menu I was creating gradually dwindled as the almondegas starter had cheese in it.
the watermelon could not be served with Feta cheese. No pastry could be part of any course.I could not even be tempted to grease the cake tin with butter.
My main course offering was to be

Roast Quails with Moroccan cous cous and carrot puree

Everything seemed fine until I realised the carrot puree had butter in it as well as olive oil. I was determined not to give up at this point, It was a perfect choice for a special occasion. Milk could not be a substitute for the butter either so I had to decide what could be used to achieve the right texture and at the same time keep the desired flavour. Incidentally I normally serve a dollop of greek yoghurt on the side to temper the curry-like spiciness of the cous cous. Not in this instance. The inspiration came from Tunisia and would be a perfect foil to the cous cous that was seasoned with a Ras Al Hanout spice blend. Here is my answer.

Tunisian carrot puree
This is equally moorish, ( excuse the pun ) served cold as a dip
some warm bread and green olives

Serves 6

750g organic carrots
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon of harissa, chilli sauce or sambal oelek
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons runny honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra Virgin olive oil

Peel the carrots, chop into large chunks and cook in boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes
or until soft. Drain well and whizz in the processor with all the other ingredients.
serve immediately or allow to cool if you are using it as a dip.

Keeping in the in same global gastronomy I thought I would offer an Orange and Cardamom cake as the pudding.

Orange and Cardamom Cake

1 large navel orange
3 eggs
250g caster sugar
250g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Preheat the oven to 180F.
Boil the orange in a pan of water for 1 hour, changing the water every 20 minutes to remove the bitterness from the skin. Drain the orange and chop roughly. Blend to a puree in a food processor.
Grease and flour a 20cm spring form cake tin. Line the base with baking parchment, Beat the eegs and sugar together until pale and thick. Mix in The almonds, baking powder and cardamom. Fold in the orange puree. Pour the batter into the tin and bake 1 hour until golden.

This one is great for wheat intolerance diets as there is no flour in the ingredients and perfect on this occasion as it is dairy free - no butter. Stumped again though as no creme fraiche or cream could be served on the side, so what better for an accompanying anniversary tipple than a glass of home made Casa Rosada Orange Licore. Phewwww got there in the end and looking in our visitors book this morning we had made their anniversary "one to remember."- and they weren´t getting the recipe for the Licore, that secret lies in our garden.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

June is bustin out all over!!!

Happy talkin talkin
happy stalks
talkin about things you'd like to cook........

Jewelled cous cous
Pomegranate jelly
Tomato sauces
Tomato Chutney
Green tomato Jam
Home made grenadine

A harvest to look forward to. I´m already anticipating sprinkling a topping of pomegrante arils on our guests autumn breakfasts. Pomegranate jelly for pud .. yum. The tomatoes look healthy but aren´t prolific. The heavy rains of this last winter took their toll. everything is late and now the weather is hot and the plants are confused.
Well one has to see what happens....

Degustation Evening at Cha Com Agua Salgada..

Each Portuguese
town has its
Feriado municipal.
Castro Marim´s
holiday coincides
with the feast of Sao Joao,
which was celebrated this thursday 24 June.

Paulo made sure we were kept refreshed with fine samplings of Quinta do Barranco Longo Wines
while Edgar proffered his guests with a background to what they were drinking

Casa Rosada however had a more pressing engagement in our diary - an invitation for a presentation dinner at Cha Com Agua Salgada, This was a chance for the local network of small hotels, Turismo rurais and bed and breakfasts to get together and sample Cha´s new "Sabores Regionais", which will be launched in September, and the Quinta do Barranco Longo Wine of 2009. After a hot day (30c ) of laundry duties, ironing and cleaning in preparation for the next guests and planning a non dairy dinner menu ( more on that story later, kirsty!!! ) What better than leaning on the railing of Cha´s terrace with glasses of Barranco Longo Rose in our hands watching beachgoers of all shapes and sizes amble back across the boardwalk. The sun was going down over Manta Rota beach and it was time to sample some of my favourite local fare. I knew I was going to enjoy the evening ahead before I even sat down. Our friend Eglantina had just handed us the new edition of her breviario, literal translation a breviary, religious and clerical definition aside, in layman´s land!!! a handbook of recommendations and pointers for her guests at her turismo rural, companhia das culturas.She pointed out that she has now included Casa Rosada in the gastronomy category as "Fusion gastronomy by demand"- a charming and cross cultural way of saying "Dinners by appointment. " well ´fusion gastronomy´ was what was about to hit us. A witty amuse bouche came in the form of a shot glass of Gazpacho. I´m loving it already - the starter quickly followed.
We were served a Tuna Trilogy - Tartare, wind dried Muxama and marinated loin. The tartare was foaming with a saucy soya profuson. Two main course samplings kept me happily in my culinary comfort zone - a delicious Octopus tempura, charmingly translated again as "Fried octopus and his risotto and black Iberian pork with migas potatoes and grilled asparagus. All in all a lovely modern twist on the traditional Algarvian Kitchen.
Cha opened its doors in April 2009 bringing to the East Algarve a stylish and very contemporary vision. A smart and modern city style restaurant was on our doorstep at Praia de Manta Rota. Sandra and Paulo a couple from Lisbon brought this project to the Algarve with the charming Sommelier Edgar.The evening rounded off with a delicious fig Parfait and an espumante Rose Reserva Bruto opened by its producer, Rui Virginia, who gave us the time to explain about the various grapes and discuss the possibility of Casa Rosada´s guests visiting his winery as part of an addition to their holiday with us. A perfect night, networking, eating, chatting and all in time to get home for the series finale of Brothers and Sisters!!!!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Apricot shortfall

People often think of the apricot as a "subtropical" fruit, No – the apricot is native to regions with cold winters, although it can grow in Mediterranean climates very well. The tree is moderately cold-hardy. Flowering in March it can suffer in northern climates from spring frosts, however what happened here in The Algarve this year was that when the blossom appeared in March so did the heavy rains and knocked all the blossom off the trees. Alas we have no apricots this year other than what we can find in the market or on one occasion a donation from a neighbour who normally exports to England but this year had only four pickers working the trees.

Pan fried apricots with thyme honey whipped cream

Here is a quite unexpected treat

1 Cup double or thick cream

1/2 cup thyme honey
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 apricots, stone removed and cut into six segments each
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
6 home made tart shells or one 20cm tart case

Combine the cream and honey in a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat, stirring until the honey has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl, cover with clingfilm and make small slashes in it with the tip of a knife. refrigerate overnight.
The next day melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter sizzles drop in the apricots and saute briefly. Sprinkle with sugar and saute for a further minute. Allow the fruit to cool on a plate.
Place the chilled cream in a bowl and whisk until firm peaks are achieved.
Spoon the cream into the tart shells or one large tart shell and arrange the apricots irregularly spaced in the cream in upright crescent shapes. Chill until ready to serve. Just before serving sprinkle with some finely chopped fresh thyme leaves.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Piri Piri Very Hot!!!!!

This afternoon I busied myself making a staple of the Portuguese store cupboard - home made Piri Piri paste.
It´s most frequent use is as a marinade, baste or paste for Frango piri piri. It is ideal for roasted grilled or barbecued meats, and gives the cooked meat a rich red mottled finish.
It is plentiful on supermarket shelves but so rewarding when you make it yourself. My version is not so traditional but still comes out a bright jungle red,with a texture like a hot ketchup packed with punch.


3 cloves garlic,peeled and left whole
2 red chillies
2 red peppers left whole
60ml olive oil
2 fresh bay leaves
half teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
half teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas mark 7
Place the garlic, chillies and peppers in a roasting tray
close together. pou over the oil and cover the tray with baking foil.
Roast for 30 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
Allow to cool, peel the skin from the peppers and remove the stalks from the chillies.
Putall the ingredients into a processor and blitz until a thick ketchup like paste results

Store in a sterilized glass jar in the refrigerator
Shelf life two weeks to one month.

A night in Tavira

.... A night off from cooking and a chance to sit back and take stock of what is coming out of other people kitchens. Our evening started with a sundowner of pink champagne at our favourite left bank bar Chez Carole et Manuel where we were joined by friends who had booked us a table on the outdoor terrace of the recently opened restaurante Amore Vero. Our first dinner there in April was impressive but last night they surpassed themselves, on all levels. Service, quality of food and presentation. It is no wonder this has achieved number one status on TripAdvisor of 36 restaurants in Tavira. Sara and Ricardo the Portuguese husband and wife chef-team quite clearly have a huge passion and talent for innovation with food!For a portuguese couple to be producing authentic Italian food with a modern twist is a first here in the Algarve. For starters we had the special of the day Figs stuffed with Ricotta and pistachio shavings The other three of us shared a plate of Italian Cheeses. For mains our friends kept with their favourite two dishes Saffron Risotto with prawns It was outstanding, full of flavour, stylishly presented, showing a dish that was obviously prepared with care by a passionate chef. Sue opted for her favourite home made pappardelle with which she requested an addition of fresh chilli. The charming waitress Emma remembered this from her last visit. My choice was the lamb shank with a saffron sauce roasted tomatoes on the vine and roasted mushrooms and butternut squash,the plate came with its own miniature lidded ramekin containing and individual portion of Dauphinoise potatoes. Andrew opted for The tenderest pigs cheeks with fennel and butternut squash. All in all one of the best dinners I have eaten in 15 years of dining in the Algarve. I encourage everyone to support this restaurant that sets an example to the hospitality industry and deserves to succeed above others.
Reservations + 351 281 098 007 Website under construction. Everything Tip top says O cozinheiro este algarve!!!!!!!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

It doesn´t happen every day!!

Today, saturday we are having what they call here a`Dia Descanso,`a day off.
It's Andrew´s birthday and what better way to start the day than a brunch of scrambled
free range eggs, presunto serrano, washed down with a very pleasant Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, and freshly squeezed orange juice.
This evening off to Tavira for an early evening aperitif and dinner... more tomorrow

Friday, 18 June 2010

Bolo de bolacha maria

`Something for the weekend ` - There are endless versions of this cake.The bolo de bolacha even has its own facebook page!!!! Casa Rosada´s favourite version is served at Restaurante Dom Petisco on the Guadiana river estuary at Vila Real de Santo Antonio ( + 351 281 541 853 )

Here is my new take on a true Portuguese classic!!

2 x 200g packets of Maria biscuits
4 egg yolks
125g unsalted butter
250g icing / confectioner´s sugar
100g good quality dark cocoa powder ( Valor Cacao Puro or Green and Black´s organic)
1 cup strong coffee
3 tbsp Maciera

1. Beat egg yolks, sugar, butter, until you get a creamy mixture

2. Brew strong coffee and add the Maciera.
Dip biscuits very briefly one by one.
Do not let the biscuits stay too long in the liquid as they will fall apart

3. Put a layer of biscuits in a spring form tin, in the form of a flower
and spread with a thin layer of the cream mixture

4. Dip more biscuits and add another layer of biscuits
and once again spread with a thin layer of the mixture
Keep repeating the process building layers until you have used all the biscuits

5. Once you have got the size of cake that you want,
finish up by covering the top and sides with more cream mixture
Save some cream mixture to touch up the sides of the cake
when you remove it from the springform tin before serving
Refrigerate overnight to set until ready to serve.

This post has now been updated and re-posted as " A new take on a Portuguese Classic"

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Welcome to `O Cozinheiro Este Algarve`

Here at Casa Rosada as much of our produce as possible is sourced locally
and all food is home made. Our wine list encompasses a fair selection of Regional Portuguese wines. I source fresh food daily from local suppliers, of whom I will be talking about in my future posts. These producers are developing a sustainable economy, whist respecting the ecosystem and the cultural traditions of the area. My first point of contact is always if possible with the person who grew it.
Castro Marim is situated at the easternmost tip of the Algarve and just across the Guadiana river is Spain, so the food we serve at Casa Rosada has an Andalucian influence too. For a first taste of what is to come - the gazpacho soup I serve is the traditional Cordoban version Samarejo with a suggested accompaniment of a noble Tempranillo Valdepenas Gran Reserva.

Fresh food daily,defined by the seasons, and supplemented by the pickings from what we ourselves grow in our kitchen garden. Let the blog begin........