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Apple and Molasses Cake

I started my first chef internship at the bakery of Pestana Palace, Lisbon.

At Pestana, we used to use these huge convection ovens, that you could fit some sort of car in to carry the trays. It was the first time I saw that in my life. On my first trainee day, I was in a dead angle, and I crossed with a girl carrying one of these cars. So, as the gentleman I am, I helped a turning the car. What I didn’t know was that that car had just came out of the oven. I burnt both hands.

At Pestana Palace, the pool was the old lake of the palace and, for that reason, people use to call the Lake House to the pool bar. Every morning we would serve a different cake at the Lake House. In a certain morning, I got the task of baking an apple pie to serve there. When the pie was ready and nicely packed, I took to the Lake House. On my way there, I slipped and fell in the middle of the floor. Me and the apple pie.

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Soy Milk

On my way to school I would feel my belly bloated, I would feel sick and nauseated. I would make weird noises with my nose, like trying to relieve some pressure through the nose. I don’t know how to explain this and don’t even why, but I would feel a bit relieved by doing that. Even nowadays I would do the same.
“Those weird noises again? What now?” – Mom would scold me. Because this was not a single or sporadic episode, no, this struggle would repeat nearly every day.
Mom used to think that my morning sickness was dued to nervousness for going to school. And so did I, but I could never understand why. I actually used to enjoy going to school.
While growing I started hating having breakfast.
It was not until I was 17 or 18 when I realized that the problem was not the breakfast, but what I would have for breakfast.
I was asthmatic for many years and I was submited to a gazillion allergy tests, from cutaneous to blood testing. As far as I know, I don’t have allergies to any food, medicine or animal. The only allergy I’ve always had is to house dust mites. But the truth is that I found out that it was the milk that was ruining my mornings.
I can say I have lactose intolerance… or maybe I’m just not a calf.

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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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Tzatziki 6

Tzatziki

Tzatziki. A spectacular name for shredded cocumber with yogurt. It even sounds that you really know how to cook when you present such food – “Do you wanna come over for dinner? I’ll make my tzatziki, it will blow your mind!”. Yes. Except, that it’s just shredded cucumber with yogurt.
Man, tzatziki even sounds like some sort of legendary sword from the Ottoman Empire. Something like – “Bahadir, son of Behram, raising the mythical blade, Tzatziki, made all the caliphate tremble.”. Except, that it’s just shredded cucumber with yogurt.
Jokes apart, I actually like tzatziki, a lot. It goes along very well with many recipes and it is a great dip for bread.
Cucumber it’s kind of a boring ingredient for most people. And I must agree. I’m also not a big fan of cucumber in it’s purest form, but it is a very versatile ingredient. It is quite tasty in oriental stir-fries or pickled, for example. And, besides that, it is the star of our recipe, today. And it’s not everyday that you can call tzatziki to something.

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Miso Soup

Miso is a traditional japanese paste obtained through the fermentation of soybeans with salt and koji (some fungus variety). It is also possible to find varieties made from fermented barley or brown rice. In Japan cuisine this paste is used to season meat, fish, prepare sauces, fillings or even soups. Like almost every oriental fermented food, it is quite salty, so you may take it easy on your salt intake when cooking with miso. On the other hand, this paste is super rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and probiotics. A true spectacle to the gut, I would say.

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Christmas Chickpea Cookies

I’ve always been a huge Christmas entusiast. I don’t know when it started and I can’t even remember caring that much about the presents I would get when I was a kid. But I do remember, since ever, being very excited about what I would eat. Since very young I’ve always loved gathering at the table, specially with all the family sitting together. Unfortunately ocasions like that are not as common as I would like it to be. Specially nowadays that I live far from home.

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