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Mushroom and Zucchini Lasagna

I like family reunions. Having the whole family around the table. Eating, drinking and fraternizing with those who are close to me. I’m very attached to my family, my friends, my roots. And that, that family confraternization, is one of the cultural heritages that I appreciate the most among the southern europeans.
When I was a kid, something that used to bother me a little, was people trying to introduce non-portuguese dishes in the Christmas meals. I used to (and I do) love traditions, specially those around the food. Christmas for me was caldo verde, boiled salted codfish with chickpeas, catshark and beans stew, bolo-rei and trutas filled with pumpkin or sweet potato pure. I could never understand why would my aunt make lasagna for Christmas, though lots of people in my family loved it.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, it’s easy for you to presume that gastronomical tradition, specially on Christmas, doesn’t mean sh*t to me anymore.
If lasagna, for you, has to be filled with minced meat and and cheese, well, bad luck for you. I’m calling this lasagna, you could call it what ever you may like.

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aveia 9

Oatmeal

I don’t remember the first time I tried oatmeal, not even how did I cook it, but I remember I didn’t like it. It had a weird consistency, lack of taste and a sickening feel in the mouth.

It’s from very young that one twists the cucumber, as they say in Portugal. I already know that I have know ideia where does this quote comes from, but the point is that it would have been much easier for me if someone taught me how to enjoy oatmeal when I was still a kid.

I also don’t remember when I started enjoying oatmeal, but I’m pretty sure it required some power of will. I remember making myself eat a lot of stuff that I didn’t really enjoy in favor of my wellness (both physically and mentally). Abandoning the guy on the left and becoming the guy on the right on only one year demanded a lot of self sacrifice. Specially for a lazy dude that never took part in any sport in his life.

Nowadays I’m such a big fan of oatmeal. I use to say that oatmeal is the most constant meal in my diet. Very rarely I don’t have oatmeal for one of the meals. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, pre or post worout, oatmeal is one of those foods that makes me happy.

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falafel 5

Falafel

I already mentioned my great fascination for the word tzatziki. Today I bring you me great fascination for the word falafel. If tzatziki sounds like a legendary sword from the Otoman Empire, falafel was, certainly, the name of some pharaoh from ancient Egypt.
“Falafel III, The Shining One, son of Mehotep, inherited the throne at the age of seven, succeeding to his brother Takelot IV.”
Notice that these are also spectacular names for football players.

I recall my first time eating falafel like if it was yesterday – it was in Joshua’s in the Forum Algarve when I was about 15 or 16 years old, right before heading to a tuning meeting.
I actually had no ideia what I was ordering. I just did it because it had a stupid name. In fact, almost every dish in Joshua’s has a spectacular name. But 15 years ago, in the Algarve, all that was quite new and unknown for me. I ended up eating a baguette from Pans & Company. The falafel tasted like pigeon poop.

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Thai Chickpea and Pumpkin Curry

Somewhere in a faraway summer, I worked with my friend João in a beach shack. Every sunday we used to have thai chicken curry with roasted peanuts. By that time, I was quite young, and I used to think that super hot food was for real machos.
The first time I made thai curry for my friends, me and Diogo end the up the dinner wearing nothing but boxers, the girls didn’t go further than the first bite and my friend Midário made me cook some chicken breasts for him.
The first time I made thai curry for my family, not even my father could eat. And he enjoys his piri piri sauce. The next day I took the rest of the food to my uncle’s coffee, in the Island where I’m from, and none of my father’s tough bearded friends could touch it.
Nowadays I like my food much less hot. Even Joana enjoys hotter food than me. In my opinion, when the food is too hot, you just miss all the other flavors. But I understand that in some cultures people are used to eat food so hot that they developed a higher endurance and addiction to it.
Today’s recipe is harmoniously balanced between fresh, hot and sweet. If you like spitting fire, you can always add more hot chilli peppers to it.

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Baked Quinces

In Ancient Greece, the fruit was used to treat several stomach and skin infections. It was also one of the most popular offers to the gods, due to it’s peculiar parfume. Actually I think people would just taste that sh*t raw and then offer it to the gods – “Hmmm, such a good looking quince! It smells so good! Holy f*ckaroni, this tastes like sh*t! It feels like I just licked a board full of splinters and then cleaned my thong with a burlap bag! I think Demeter is having an offer tonight…”

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Arroz Main

Rice Porridge with Wild Berries

Rice for breakfast may sound weird to me that I’m portuguese and pretty much to all the people living in the western world. But, in many cultures, specially in Asia, of course, rice is present in pretty much every single meal, including breakfast.
Rice with raw egg and nattō in Japan, soup with rice and vegetables in China, white rice and lentils dahl in India, rice with fried egg in the Philippines, kuy teav with rice noodles in Cambodja or rice with fried fish in Indonesia. These are not dinner or lunch, but, in fact, the first meal of the day for most people.
When I’m asked how does a traditional portuguese breakfast looks like, most times I don’t know what to answer.
When I was a kid I used to eat cereal with milk, then I turned myself to toasts with butter and coffee with milk and just when I was older I realized I could also eat fruit, smoothies and other stuff. Of course I’ve also been through the boiled eggs, tuna with chickpeas and chicken breasts phase, like any other idiot in the gym.
But, after all, how does a typical portuguese breakfast looks like? Most of my friends didn’t even use to take it. Unless an espresso and four cigarettes until lunch time could count as breakfast. Ok, ok, some would also eat a pastel de nata (portuguese custard pie).
When it comes to the islanders from the little island where I’m from, they like to eat their pork sandwich with a cold beer in the morning. But most of them start working at 4:00AM! After four or five hours of work, breakfast doesn’t really taste like breakfast does it?

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