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Portugal

It was during the 16th century that the Portuguese, and the famous Vasco da Gama, returning from the "spice route", brought back to their homeland precious cargos. The holds of the ships were scented with the fragrance of saffron, paprika, coriander, and nutmeg. They also abounded in bundles of rice, tea, coffee, crates of capsicums, potatoes and pineapples. The Portuguese cuisine and the whole of the West were damned to get richer!

Today, Portugal is mostly renowned for its fishes, the tuna, sardines, and the famous "bacalhau" (cod), each involved in countless of their own recipes. Let us not forget its highly seasoned chorizo, its delicious egg-based pastries such as the "pastel de nata" (a custard tartlet).

Its gastronomy, rich in sauce, garlic and oil (olive oil, of course!) is, I have to admit, quite heavy and fatty, but so fragrant, and so full-flavoured!

Let us be tempted...


Chorizo kebab (starter)

- 1 chorizo
- 1 capsicum
- 1 tomato
- 4 wooden skewers

Cut the chorizo in big slices and the tomato in quarters.
Singe the capsicum over the flame your stove to blacken its skin so as to peel it off easily. It will be all the more soft and digestible.
Remove the seeds and then, proceed to dice the capsicum.
Soak the wooden skewers for a few minutes in water so that they do not catch fire while they’ll cook.
Prepare the skewers by alternating chorizo, tomato and capsicum.
Cook for 4 to 5 minutes in the oven (grill option) or better, on a barbecue grill.


Cod pancakes (main dish)

- 300g soaked cod (you can do this by yourself by soaking the cod in milk for one whole night)
- 4 or 5 medium sized potatoes
- 1/2 minced onion
- 2 eggs
- 1 pinch of salt and pepper

Cook the peeled potatoes for about 20 minutes.
Put the cod together with the minced onion in a saucepan and cover with water.
Switch off the heat once the water begins to boil and leave the cod in its bouillon for 3 minutes.
Put the cod on a dish and with the help of a fork, take the fish to tiny pieces.
Add the onion strips, salt and pepper.
Mix with the crushed potatoes and the eggs.
Prepare small pancakes.
Brown them on both sides in a well-oiled frying pan.


Pastel de nata (dessert)

- A ready-made flaky pastry
- One 50cl jar of crème fraîche
- 100/150g of powdered sugar (depending on your taste).
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon cornflour (or plain flour)

Beat the sugar with the egg yolks and the cream, and add the corn flour.
Put the mixture in a saucepan and bring to boil.
Cook for 3-4 minutes.  Keep stirring.
Set aside and leave it to cool at room temperature.
With the help of an upside-down bowl (or a cup, depending on the diameter of the moulds), cut out discs from the pastry and set them down in small individual moulds.
Fill with the cream.
Cook in a hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve cold or warm.