Pottery Uncovered In Portugal & A Few Portuguese Tapas Recipe’s

Pottery Uncovered In Portugal & A Few Portuguese Tapas Recipe’s

Pottery Uncovered In Portugal & A Few Portuguese Tapas Recipe’s

The History and customs of Portugal can be told through the decorative pieces made with a great sense of humour and imagination.

Portuguese Traditional Pottery: Clay and Glass have always been materials used by artisans in Portugal.

The large Portuguese brands that still exist today, were able to maintain themselves afloat independently of the changes in fashion and demand that have occurred in the past decades. The classic brands focused on the most exclusive products, with more elegant designs, as is the case with world-famous Vista Alegre – this particular brand dates back to 1942 and is well known throughout the world for its high quality porcelain, take a look at their site and you will get a better understanding of their most exclusive designs and must have pieces of homeware. www.myvistaalegre.com/pt/. The most “rustic” pieces that began their production focused on the popular masses are easily available in markets all over Portugal.” Caldas da Rainha, just north of Lisbon, is the center of Portuguese pottery due to the abundance of clay deposits. There are so many different designs from the various regions of Portugal each with their own history. I enjoyed these two different sites that give me a little more detail on the various districts and what is distinct about each of them.


www.visitar-lisbon.com/en/shopping/ceramics-glass.html offer an in depth view of some of the more “high end” porcelain and pottery made in Portugal.

TRADITIONAL RED CLAY AND HAND PAINTED POTTERY is available in all markets, pottery stores and on the road sides throughout Portugal.

PORTUGUESE TAPAS (called petiscos): Thought I would share a few of my favourite tried and tested recipes that I always serve on my red clay pottery collected from various trips to Portugal.

FRIED PORTUGUESE PRAWNS – a family secret from my mom “Mamma Maria”, I really had to do some convincing for Mum to let me post this recipe!!!!

CHICKPEA & CODFISH COMBO – Having a Portuguese evening at home then this is a must:  Chick pea and codfish traditional Portuguese combo. This recipe mixes both key ingredients in a light dressing, all combined into a salad that can be served together with various other tapas dishes or as a starter to a main course.


  • 1kg Large Prawns
  • 1 Large Clove of Garlic
  • 1 cup beer
  • 2 tsp good quality olive oil
  • 2 small chillies (more if you like your prawns spicier)
  • The outer skin of one onion
  • A handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • Salt to taste


  1. Boil Prawns for 15/20 minutes together with chilli, salt and the skin of an onion (this gives the prawns colour) – once boiled remove water and allow prawns to dry
  2. In a frying pan, mix the olive oil, garlic and handful of chopped fresh parsley
  3. Allow sauce to saute for a few minutes then add prawns – toss together in the sauce and then add fresh lemon juice to taste
  4. Serve prawns in beautiful Portuguese pottery – bon apetite!!!

Courtesy of “Mamma Maria” my remarkable motherJ

FLAMED chouriço (in portuguese) using a red clay pottery chouriço dish – chouriço is traditionally flamed with Aquadente *Portuguese Aguardente has several varieties. Aguardente vínica is distilled from wine, either of good quality or undrinkable wines. It is mostly used to fortify wines such as port, or aged to make aguardente velha (old burning water), a kind of brandy. Better known in South Africa as “Fire Water”. Chorizo and most Portuguese products are available in most Everfresh markets – www.everfreshmarkets.co.za


250 gr cooked chick peas
2 salted cod steaks
1 “cloved onion”
2 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
2 red pepper
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp Sherry vinegar/can use red wine vinegar if you can’t find sherry vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
Large bunch of parsley

If you’re using pre-soaked chick peas and cod go to step 3.

  1. Soak the cod in cold water for 2-3 days (depending on the thickness of the pieces) changing water twice a day. In the last day add the chick peas to the water to soak overnight. Cod fish can be purchased from www.everfreshmarkets.co.za. (In Portugal you can find de-salted cod fish in most stores and I would use canned chick peas which makes this recipe a little easier and quicker)
  2. Boil in fresh water (with a little more salt) with a “cloved onion” (a peeled onion with cloves) and bay leaves. Take off the heat when chick peas are cooked (these take about 45 minutes and should be soft while keeping their shape).
  3. Boil the cod for about 5 minutes (the middle should be practically raw) in the same water as the chick peas and put aside. www.pasto.wordpress.com
  4. Make the dressing in a pestle and mortar. Smashing the garlic cloves with some sea salt, add cumin seeds and crush, then add the olive oil.
  5. Shred the cod into small pieces and mix with the drained chick peas, red pepper and roughly chopped parsley. Toss in the dressing and serve.

Recipe available on www.pasto.wordpress.com an awesome blog on Portugal and Portuguese food.


A strenuous walk up to the Castelo de St Jorge was not in vain. For a consumer like me, anything that involves a little retail therapy makes exercise all worthwhile.  Discovering all these interesting stores selling handmade ceramics, crafts and beautiful artifacts made my creative senses elate with excitement.
Walking up this quaint winding road to the soft sound of Portuguese fado and house jazz you cannot but take in the beauty of this diverse city – there were people sitting in wine houses eating tapas platters and sipping wine and other tourists meandering in the cobbled streets.  For good handicrafts made by Portuguese artists then these two stores are a must to visit – Nobre Povo – Portuguese Contemporty Handicraft and Azulejo Handmade by us:

THE PRODUCTS FROM BORDALLO PINHEIRO  well known throughout the world and a must to add to any to your homeware collection, even just one or two pieces add a quirkiness to a table – see the many selections of ceramics available on their website www.pt.bordallopinheiro.com and www.ebay.com and so many other on-line stores.

“Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro is one of the most influential people of the nineteenth century Portuguese culture, with a remarkable production particularly regarding the areas of humoristic drawing, caricature and ceramic creation. His work represents an unsettling ever timely reality and a fundamental document for political, social, cultural and ideological study of a time period….” Worth a look to find the diverse products sold and to learn a little more about the history of these products www.pt.bordallopinheiro.com

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My Favourite Durban Curry

My Favourite Durban Curry

My Favourite Durban Curry

RECIEPE from the Executive Chef at The Oyster Box – Chef Kevin Joseph’s blog – blog.redcarnationhotels.com

“A little history lesson on how curry was introduced to the Colony of Natal.  Curry was introduced over 150 years ago by indentured laborers who came from India, to work in the sugar cane fields. The word ‘curry’ comes from the Tamil word ‘kari’ which means ‘sauce’.

The unique flavours of Indian cooking, which were embraced by British settlers and the Zulus, have been developed over time to make the ‘Durban Curry’, famous around the world.

Durban curries, which are usually hotter, are coloured red with tomatoes, chilies and cayenne pepper. Expert curry makers from Durban boast that a typical Durban Masala curry powder has about 12 different ingredients in the blend. These include ground coriander, cinnamon, cumin, curry leaves, fennel seed, dried chilies and cayenne pepper, as well as ginger and garlic. The array of tasty Durban curries encompass many glorious dishes made from chicken, prawns, fish, beef and vegetables, but the most popular choice is lamb or mutton.

A typical Durban curry is made in a heavy pan. Onions are browned in oil, and then curry powder is added, followed by the garlic and ginger. This mixture is simmered before the lamb, chicken, beef or fish is folded in and then all the remaining ingredients are added. The pan is covered and the dish is left to simmer, bringing all the flavours together. Coriander is added just before serving. Durban curry is usually served over rice, with condiments such as chutney, sambals and pappadums’.

To pick up the essential ingredients for a Durban curry at the local Spice Emporium – www.spiceemporium.co.za . This is the home of spicy blends of curry powders and traditional accompaniments. Although Durban curries can bring tears to the eye, there is always plenty of flavour in every dish.”

Ask them at the store to help put the curry powder blend together to ensure a perfect Durban curry.

The Masala Mix consists of: (100ml):
Mild Masala
Medium Masala

Famous Lamb Curry

Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 4 people



  • 1 kg leg of lamb or shoulder (or 1 kg chicken), cubed
  • 75 ml oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (10 cm long)
  • 20 ml medium strength masala curry powder (reduce if you prefer a curry with more flavor than heat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ml crushed garlic and ginger
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 5 ml whole fennel seeds
  • 250 ml water (one cup)
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 medium tomato, skinned and diced
  • Coriander (dhania) leaves for garnishing




  1. Washed cube meat and drain water.
  2. Heat oil and add diced onion, cloves and cinnamon sticks.
  3. Add the masala powder mix, stir and add meat to the pot.
  4. Add salt, garlic and ginger, curry leaves and fennel seeds. Stir all ingredients together.
  5. Allow to cool on a high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
  6. As excess water and juices evaporate, add the additional cup of water, followed by the potato and tomato.
  7. When both meat and vegetables are cooked (approximately 30 minutes), simmer on high heat for 5 minutes.
  8. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice, roti and green salad.


Kevin Joseph’s curry powder mix is a carefully guarded secret but we can share what goes in it with you. As too the measurements… only Kevin knows!

For veggies you can substitute the meat with vegetables of your choice including cauliflower, cubed butternut, sweet potato, lentils, carrots, courgettes and more. One note – don’t add cardamon if you are doing a veggie curry!

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Winter Dinner Party At Home…Part 2, the food!!

Winter Dinner Party At Home…Part 2, the food!!

Winter Dinner Party At Home… Part 2, the food!!

“Wine is one of the most agreeable and essential ingredients in life” – Julia Childs

It’s been rather chilly here in the Algarve. With winter in mind, whilst having a few glasses of red wine with a dear friend, Coq au vin was confused with Beef Bourguignon.  Thus the menu unfolded that Beef Bourguignon was going to be the main meal of the night.

Bourguignon means Burgundy, named after the region in France where this dish originated. One of the most important factors when making this dish is to use a good red wine that you would actually drink. Best is either a Cabinet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chianti or a full bodied Burgundy. (This is a very expensive option though)


My research began with the help of my reliable friend “Google” on how to make Beef Bourguignon and where it originated.  In my search for the perfect recipe, I came across this formidable story of Julia Child and her love for French cooking.  She managed to bring the art of French Cuisine to the American market. For a little more insight   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Child’s_kitchen.

In the process of my research, I came across the movie that was produced in 2009 called Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep. It reflected on the life of Julia Child and her love for French food and voila I found Julia Powell’s recipe for “Beouf Bourguignon”. The obvious next step was to watch the movie and get inspired. Definitely worth a girlie throw-back moment to 2009.

My Menu for 8:

  • Welcome drinks: A chilly night called for a Ruby Port to be served setting the ambiance for the dinner ahead
  • Mezze Platters:

Mixed leafy greens topped with beetroot seeds and tossed in a herb dressing

Shaved smoked salmon and prawns

Smoked Salmon pate

Stuffed Jalapeno peppers (jar of pickled Jalapeno peppers and then pipe in some soft goat’s cheese)

Cherry tomatoes on the stalk roasted in balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and olive oil

Spicy sweet Chilli sauce

Homemade Bruschetta

  • Beef Bourguignon recipe:


Served with medium sized noodles

  • Dessert (I always keep this as simple as possible):

Mini Profiteroles, Mini Eclairs and Fresh Berries served on my favourite cake stand for all to nibble on

Great evening with friends, sharing good food, wine, loads of laughter and our new homeJ The sign of happy guests is when all are tucked into their food they don’t even notice the photographer.

Hello Portugal,  we here to stay!

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5 Must Haves For A Beach Picnic

5 Must Haves For A Beach Picnic

5 Must Haves For A Beach Picnic

“Life is better at the beach”

Whether you celebrating the beginning of SPRING or AUTUMN, a picnic at the beach is a great place to chill and relax. The BEACH is definitely my happy place.


Cotton Murah’s are fabulous and can be bought at markets or here in the Algarve on the beach by the local vendors.  Alternatively, use cotton beach towels that can be bought at most home stores to use as tablecloths on the sand. Both these dry quickly and are easy to wash.


For a special touch:  Add a few hand woven placemats to your picnic basket and some cushions for comfort whilst sipping your bubby and watching the sun go down to create simple yet stylish picnic look and feel.


Good quality re-cycled non-breakable glasses add a little sparkle to your picnic setting. I these found at El Corte Ingles in Lisbon.


TIP: 1 litre bottled water

Cut some lemon wedges, cucumber slices and sprigs of rosemary into a container and when setting up your picnic add the mix to your water for flavour.

FINGER FOODS are simple to prepare

A selection of cheeses like French brie or Camembert served with small French Loaves is my favourite

TIP: these cheeses ooze deliciously in the sun, hard cheeses tend to go oily in the sun

Salads in jam jars are easy to eat from and keep fresh

TIP: Save salt, pepper and sauce sachets wherever possible so you don’t have to pack extra into your basket

Baby carrots and veggies can be served with an assortment of dips

Loads of fresh fruit like grapes, berries and sliced watermelon

Dessert: Chocolate Brownies are a great choice

With the above tips, your cooler and picnic basket, you are ready to go. Have fun and enjoy a relaxed day out surrounded by the simple beauty of nature.

All you have to do is choose where to have your portable feast and who to share it with!

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Summer, Coastal Tableware and Al Fresco Dining

Summer, Coastal Tableware and Al Fresco Dining

Summer, Coastal Tableware and Al Fresco Dining

It seems Al fresco is one those gatherings where friends linger longer…

  • Good quality white dinnerware.
  • A few additional dinner plates or side plates in soft shades of blue, mint green or patterned to add variety to the place settings. This allows you to layer your tableware.
  • Natural woven chargers or placemats to add texture
  • Coloured glassware to add a fun and relaxed feel to the table
  • White napkins always add a crisp look and feel. Add a personalized touch by using napkin rings or even a beach shell tied with some rope onto the napkin
  • Simple organic centerpieces: use greenery like succulents in beach sand or lanterns with candles and some beach shells added into them to add ambiance.

the food is always simple and the wine always flows.  A Portuguese girl at heart who absolutely loves spending time with friends and family. Our friends become family and family is always family. An Al fresco gathering signifies “out of doors and open air”. Al fresco, plan well and then you can relax with your guests and enjoy the moment.

A few essentials needed to style an AL FRESCO BEACH GATHERING. Don’t forget to decide what feel you want to give your guests. Will it be a rustic or an elegant experience??? Styling your table is half the fun of entertaining, then comes the good food and wineJ Dramatic hues of blue, white, mint green or aqua reflect the feel of BEACH so use these to add the softer touches to your table setting.

SIMPLE AL FRESCO FOODS to serve that can be easily placed onto the dinning table and passed around!!

A simple Tomato Mozzarella Salad

  • 2-3 vine ripened tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • fresh ground pepper


Spinach & Orzo Salad (I have tried this salad and it’s so light and fresh)

  • Fresh baby spinach leaves {I use the bagged spinach}
  • 1 cup orzo pasta, cooked and drained; chill until ready to use
  • 1/2 purple onion, sliced into bite-sized strips
  • about 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta cheese
  • about 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing


Combine all salad ingredients and drizzle with vinaigrette to taste. Toss and serve.

Grill some corn on a griddle pan and serve cold or warm

Lemon-Herb Chicken Grilled Breasts

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves {trimmed of fat}
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Lemon juice from 1 1/2 lemons
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 Tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine all marinade ingredients together in a large zip lock bag. Add chicken breasts and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat grill on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Add chicken breasts and cook for about 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

Remove chicken from grill and cover with aluminum foil to allow chicken to continue to cook, and for juices to settle. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F.

Serve over a bed of arugula with slices of lemon for garnish

I found this awesome menu on www.celebrationsathomeblog.com


For 8 dependable on how big your champagne glasses are

  • 1 bottle rose champagne
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to the boil and boil till the sugar is dissolved.

Allow the sugar syrup to cool, then add the champagne. Pour into a shallow container and freeze for 2 hours, stirring regularly. Serve in small dessert cups.


Al fresco dinning is not only for hot summer nights. Transform the colour palette and menu and voila!! I Do you need some help to create a winter Al fresco gathering? Let me know, would love to help with some ideasJ

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Great Ideas for a Mexican Fiesta

Great Ideas for a Mexican Fiesta

Great Ideas for a Mexican Fiesta

With food prices soaring why not create a DINNER CLUB with friends…

…It’s a great way to cut down on costs and gives rise to a far more relaxed and stress free gathering.  Sharing in the food experience makes for loads of conversation and laughter about the meal and how everything was researched. What a FAB evening this was. NO stress on the hosting couple as their task was to prepare the main course and set the ambiance for the dinner and the rest of the two couples decided on who made the entrée and dessert. I have never been the greatest at desserts so I chose to do the entréeJ

Sharing is caring and halving the load was even better, especially when you starting the evening with a few Tequila Mojitos, followed by loads of simple tasty food with a little EXTRA spice and loads of vinho!! My kind of evening!!


A little tequila, mint, lime juice, club soda and crushed ice = Tequila Mojito’s served in Terracotta goblets, just so apt. We were handed one on arrival to help set the tone and then giggled at the flavoured water that was provided to take the heat off!!

NOW for my entrée. LAYERED MEXICAN DIP. I absolutely loved making this simple dish. Add some Cream cheese, salsa, cheese, lettuce & tomatoes and avocado crema. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of making the crema, buy some good Guacamole which is readily available in most stores. I am all for making life simpler and easier without compromising flavours

My take on this entrée was to serve the Dip in individual votive glasses (always worth have loads of these around as they can be used for much) as I felt it added a touch of elegance to an otherwise simple dip. This entrée can be served in a larger glass container for all to share. There are no rules in Mexico!

The freshness and brightness of the ingredients is what makes for a great Fiesta. Remember to use these colours when creating your table décor.



Author: Susie Gall

Recipe type: Dip, Salad

Serves: 6-8



For the Layered Mexican Dip:

(Double all ingredients if using a 9×13 inch dish)

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup Picante sauce or tomato salsa – save ½ cup for topping

½ Iceberg lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces

½-1 cup Cheddar Cheese or Mexican Cheese Blend, shredded

1-cup diced tomatoes

Avocado Crema, if desired – recipe below

Optional other ingredients:

Black olives

Avocados, diced

Black beans

Green, sliced or Sweet yellow onion, diced

Whatever else your little heart desires.

For the Avocado Crema:

2 avocados, peeled, pitted

Juice from ½ lime (approximately 1-tablespoon fresh juice)

2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons milk, if needed

Optional Ingredients:

½ teaspoon Sriracha Sauce (did not use this)

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1-teaspoon honey (I prefer unsweetened Crema)


For the Layered Mexican Dip:

Combine softened cream cheese and ½ cup salsa. With a stand mixer, beat on medium-high until well combined and fluffier.

Place the cream cheese/salsa mixture in the bottom of a 9×9 glass baking dish or casserole and smooth out the mixture.

In this order, layer chopped lettuce, cheese and tomatoes over the cream cheese mixture.

Drizzle extra salsa over the top.

If desired (as I do) serve Avocado Crema on the side

The salad is delicious as is, but if you want to kick it up, add your favorite toppings.



For the Avocado Crema:

Combine all Avocado Crema ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Pulse or mix until the ingredients are well blended and smooth. If needed, add a little milk.


Found on: http://www.simplysated.com/layered-mexican-dip/


This was prepared by our hosts Daniel & Christina.  What an absolutely appropriate meal for this relaxed evening.  Nothing makes for more laughter and loads of conversation than eating with your hands. We all tucked in and made up our own wraps with the fantastic Mexican Casserole. An array of extra sauces and fillings were provided dependable on how spicy you liked your food.

What’s a FIESTA without some good red vinho to help with the spiciness and heat of the chilli. Now I know why the flavoured water was so freely availableJ


NOW for the Dessert…

Tequila Lime Cheese Cake…can be served in squares as well but I really like the idea of using individual ramekins this way you don’t have to shareJ

THANK YOU TO DANIEL GONCALVES for the absolutely awesome photography for this blog.


WHAT A GREAT EVENING shared with friends and sooo looking forward to the next FIESTA or maybe FEAST with a touch of INDIA.

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