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 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
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

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Um petisco típico português… Pica Pau!

In Spain, eating tapas is so much a part of the culture that there's actually a verb for it, tapear, which means to go and eat tapas, particularly moving from one place to another.Here in Portugal the culture is not quite the same, but there is one dish that perfectly fits this remit, and you don`t have to even move from place to place, you can stay right where you are at home. Its called Pica-pau meaning woodpecker in Portuguese.Why the name I dont know but I can have a wild shot at how the dish was so named.There is no woodpecker in it, but the manner in which it is eaten is like pecking small portions. The dish is made up of little cubes of beef and other ingredients that you usually pick at. It is traditionally served with toothpicks (palitos) to pick the pieces and crusty bread to soak up the juices, often in cervejarias (beer houses, the nearest Portuguese equivalent of tapas bars) and open air festivals, where it is usually washed down with lashings of draught beer.This is an informal, fun and social style of eating for any time of the year and for those of you who can remember, reminiscent of those fondue evenings, chicken bricks and "Habitat" lifestyle of the seventies.Traditionally the dish is served with shop bought pickles of which I am not a great fan. A diced gherkin or two is fine, but I opted for serving it with some colourful roasted vegetables- red and yellow peppers red onion,carrots courgette and aubergine with some fennel fronds and thyme.On the side I served a bowl of home made Harissa.
Traditional Pica-pau (Serves 6) 
2 tbsp sunflower oil 
800g good-quality beef tenderloin, cubed 
Sea salt and ground white pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
100g banha de porco (pork fat), diced 
1 small brown onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed 
2 bay leaves 
1 tbsp sweet mustard 
Splash white wine 
Splash brandy 
2 tbsp pickled vegetables (shop-bought), diced (optional)
2 tbsp gherkins, diced ( optional)
Half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped 
Good-quality chilli oil, to serve (optional)
Country bread and lemon wedges, to serve

Once you’ve prepared the ingredients for this dish, it’s really fast to make in one pan, so be ready to serve it quickly.
Place a large pan over a high heat and sear the beef very quickly in the sunflower oil, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Once seared – but not cooked through – move the beef on to a tray, reserving the juices.
Add butter and olive oil to the pan, then the pork fat. Add the onions and cook quickly, stirring constantly. Add the garlic and bay leaves, then the mustard, and stir through. Add the meat, a splash of wine, brandy, pickles,if using, gherkins,and parsley. Adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper.
Mix everything for 15 seconds, still on high heat, then remove from the stove. Transfer to a warm serving tray and serve immediately with the suggested garnishes.
The twist:
Pica-pau with roasted vegetables
Red pepper
Yellow pepper
Orange pepper
Red onion
sprigs of thyme
Fennel stalks and fronds
Cut the vegetables into bite size pieces then toss all the vegetables together in some oil and roast in the oven.When roasted served with the pica-pau as above.