14 December 2011

Octopus rice

This is a typical Portuguese meal, very simple but very tasty. The octopus becomes very soft (not chewy) and infuses the rice with its wonderful flavors.


Serves 3-4
Adapted from here.

200 g / 7 oz short rice
600 g / 21 oz frozen octopus
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
200 g / 7 oz tomato, peeled and chopped
1 red or green pepper, sliced or chopped
1/3 cup red wine
1 Tbsp olive oil


1.    The day before, place the frozen octopus in the fridge to defrost overnight. In the next day, rinse well with fresh water. Place it in a pan with a whole (peeled) onion and a little bit of water (about ½ cup) and cook at low-medium heat until the onion is cooked. The octopus will be perfectly cooked at the same time as the onion.

2.    Reserve the cooking water and cut the octopus into chunks.
3.    Finely chop the other onion and the garlic cloves. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic and the onion until soft and translucent. Add the peeled and chopped tomatoes, as well as the red or green pepper, mixing well.

4.    Add the reserved cooking water from the octopus (and a little water if necessary), calculating 3 times the volume of the rice. Add the red wine and, as soon as it boils, add the rice and let it cook for 18-20 min.

5.    When the rice is almost cooked, add the octopus and mix well. Adjust seasoning. Serve.

This rice is best served imediately, while it still has some liquid, as you can see in the pictures.
Hope you enjoy it!

White fish fillets with leek cream

Meals consisting of fish are very appreciated at home. When I saw this recipe in Gasparzinha’s blog (one of my favorite blogs) I immediately put it in my (very long) ‘to do’ list.

I made some little modifications to the original recipe, which included muschrooms that I did not have at the moment. But the simple leek cream with a touch of curry gives this fish a wonderful and surprising flavor.

Serves 4
Adapted from here.

4 white fish fillets
2 medium leeks
2 tsp ground coriander, separated
1 tsp curry, separated
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 slices of corn bread (or other bread)


1.   Preheat the oven to 180 ºC/350 ºC.

2.   Season the fillets with the lemon juice and salt to taste. Place in a baking pan.

3.   Process the bread with ½ tsp curry and 1 tsp coriander.

4.   Wash the leeks and slice them thinly. Heat the olive oil in a small pan, add the leeks and let it fry at low heat for about 10 min. Add the remaining ½ tsp curry and 1 tsp coriander and season with salt after the first 5 min.

5.   Remove from the heat, add the milk, and mash it until you obtain a cream.

6.   Distribute the leek cream over the fish fillets, sprinkle with the processed bread and put in the oven for 30 min, or until the fish is cooked and the bread is golden and crisp.

13 December 2011

Torta della Nonna

A love to cook all things. Desserts, savory, traditional and not so traditional recipes, I love them all. Like many of you I spend a lot of my free time searching for new recipes in books, magazines and blogs, and I can say that most of what I know about cooking has come from the world of blogging.
I still have a lot to learn, but I finally decided to create my own blog so that I can give back a little of what was given to me.

Torta della Nonna
From the beautiful blog Baunilha e Caramelo.

2 ½ cups (300 g) all purpose flour
½ cup (110 g) butter (used half butter half margarine)
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp (110 g) sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar
Zest of ½ lemon

2 1/8 cups (500 ml) milk
2 eggs
¾ cup (150 g) sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
¼ cup (30 g) all purpose flour
Zest of ½ lemon

3 Tbsp pine nuts (didn’t use)
Icing sugar


For the dough

1.   Place all the dough ingredients in a large bowl and work it with your hands until you obtain an homogenous, pliable and non-sticky dough (if it is sticky, add a little flour). Let it rest in the fridge for half an hour.

For the filling

2.   Pour the milk in a small saucepan, add the lemon zest and bring to a boil.

3.   In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar. Add the flour and combine.

4.   Add a little bit of the hot milk to the egg mixture and mix well. Now gradually add the egg mixture to the hot milk, while constantly stirring. Cook for a few minutes at low heat (keep stirring) until it gets thicker. Remove from the heat and let it cool completely.

5.   Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Butter a 27cm/10in tart pan.

6.   In a floured surface, roll out 2/3 of the dough until it is very thin, to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Place it in the pan and cut the excess of dough, leaving a 3 cm/1.2 in margin.

7.   Fill with the cream.

8.   Roll out the remaining 1/3 dough, cut a 27cm/10in circle and cover the filling with it. Fold the dough margin of the bottom over the top dough, to seal the filling.

9.   Sprinkle with the pine nuts (didn’t use) and bake for about 40 min, or until the top is golden. Let it cool completely and sprinkle with icing sugar. It is best served after a few hours (preferably overnight) in the fridge.

The dough is perfect to work with and delicious (before and after baking J). With the creamy and zesty filling it makes a perfect combination.