Category Archives: My A-Z of Portugal

Palácio de Mateus Reflections

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is all about reflections.

Palacio de Mateus2

Palacio de Mateus

Palacio de Mateus

One of the least memorable trips on our Douro river cruise was a visit to Palácio de Mateus, near Vila Real. Please don’t ask why but I was expecting to visit a vineyard for the Mateus Rose wine. Yep, the devil is always in the detail and I failed to connect the dots.

I am not a student of architecture so the building while providing an impressive photo oppotunity on our arrival failed to stir much interest within. Even Wiki only has a page stub.

The official website is www.casademateus.com

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Boa Páscoa – Happy Easter!

Folar da Páscoa - Traditional Portuguese Easter Bread

Folar da Páscoa – Traditional Portuguese Easter Bread

I don’t have any pictures of Easter Bunnies or Easter Eggs, so hope a picture of Folar da Páscoa will suffice.

I’d planned to drag Mr. Piglet along to a Folar da Páscoa festival today. However, as it’s being held outside and the weather is SO awful I will have to wait until next year! Mr. Piglet breathed a BIG sigh of relief! First time I’ve heard him cheer because it’s raining.

Related posts
Folar da Páscoa

What is a Cataplana?

Cataplana

Cataplana

Since moving to Portugal one of my favorite meals, when we eat out, is a fish stew (Caldeirada) but the type which is cooked and served in a copper dish called a Cataplana. As you can see from my photograph the dish has two hinged clam-like shells which are clamped tightly together during cooking. Researching the origin of the dish Wikipedia states the Cataplana was invented by Armando Luz (1927-2002), however other sources such as www.lecreuset.co.uk and www.recipes4us.co.uk informs us the Cataplana was first introduced to the Algarve by the Moors in the 8th Century, during their occupation. Help I’m confused!

Usually, when I see Cataplana de Peixe on the menu it’s for two people so I was delighted to discover the Don Sebastian restaurant in Lagos served single portions! Mr. Piglet is not keen on fish stew and even less so since eating Caldeirada which contained fish lips; the type of fish that looks like its lips have undergone a Botox operation. It made us laugh because the lips were not attached to anything and just yawned at him when he spooned some of the stew onto his plate. Then when he discovered some white hard round things which our friend informed him were the fishes eye balls, Mr. Piglet nearly evaporated on the spot!

CATAPLANA DE PEIXE

CATAPLANA DE PEIXE

Cataplana recipes
Trawling through recipes on Google and YouTube ingredients can include anything from pork and clams to fish and seafood etc.
Recipe and Video for Cataplana in English from http://how2heroes.com

AND

Brigadeiros or Chocolate Cannonballs?

Recipe

Brigadeiros are traditionally made from condensed milk, sweetened cocoa powder and butter. Cooked to a fudge consistency,  rolled into little balls and coated in chocolate granules (sprinklers).

Ingredients
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1oz of butter
3 large tablespoons of cocoa powder
Chocolate 100s and 1000s (chocolate granules) for decoration

Method
Place cocoa powder, condensed milk and butter in heavy saucepan. Heat the mixture slowly on low heat stirring constantly until resembles a fudge like consistency, but not too stiff. If you cook the mixture too long the it becomes too hard and is chewy. Remove from saucepan, put into a dish and allow to cool completely. Pour chocolate 100s and 1000s onto a plate.
Grease your hands with butter or margarine before rolling the chocolate mixture in to little balls as this prevents it sticking to your hands as you form into balls.

Brigadeiros are an extremely popular treat at children’s birthday parties in Brazil. However, they are also a perfect treat for Piglet with a nice cup of coffee. Hmmmm… delicious and so moreish!

A Brigadeiro is the perfect treat to serve with a cup of coffee

A Brigadeiro is the perfect treat to serve with a cup of coffee

I’m also going to try this recipe by http://southamericanfood.about.com/od/desserts/r/brigadeiros.htm which includes salt and vanilla.

Extra info
Fernanda’s Mum adds an extra dimension to Brigadeiros by inserting a cherry inside (a cherry in syrup). “If you buy candied cherries (with all that sugar involving them) put them on water for a while to remove the excess sugar and the inside the brigadeiro”.

I am definitely going to try this!

I like the name “chocolate cannonballs” but perhaps not PC for children.

History

According to Wikipedia Brigadeiros are a popular Brazilian sweet created in the 1940s. They were named after Eduardo Gomes a Brazilian Brigadier and revolutionary who later ran unsuccessfully for the presidency.  So why call a sweet after this guy? Intrigued I researched further and found a plausible explanation here

In the 1940s while Brazil was at war there was a shortage of imported sweets. Cocoa powder had just been introduced to Brazil by Nestlé, and this, teamed with condensed milk, made a delicious chocolate fudge truffle sweet. This sweet proved extremely popular and a favorite with Eduardo Gomes.

1945 was the first year women could vote in the Presidential elections and Eduardo Gomes was one of the candidates. The women who supported him sold the chocolate fudge truffle sweet to raise money for the campaign.

His campaign slogan “Vote no brigadeiro, que é bonito e é solteiro” (Vote for the brigadier, who’s good-looking and single). Although he was not elected president, Brazil now had a name for this popular sweet “Brigadeiros”.

Fernanda (See comments below) completes the puzzle and tells us the ““cake” already existed before as “negrinho” and it seems that in some areas of Brasil it’s still called this way.”