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Posts Tagged ‘sea’

Cataplana & Algarve Beaches

20 Oct

See food Cataplana.

Whats your traditional dish? A typical question any curious foodie would ask if one is in a foreign land. The famous one in Algarve region of Portugal is ‘Cataplana’.  Its interesting to observe how the food is prepared and served. It also reflects the life style of Portugese fishermen. Cataplana is prepared by steaming mixed seafood, vegetables and other aromatic ingredients together in a special pot (also called Cataplana). Although simple, the dish tastes excellent.  The process of steaming in a closed vessel retains all the juices from seafood & vegetables within the pot and it adds a natural taste to the dish. The fish doesn’t have to be perfectly cut. Just use whatever fish you may get it from sea. I liked the wholesome pot meal which is a balanced meal in itself.  The sauce goes well with Portuguese bread.

Cataplana is a dish cooked with seafood(fish, shell fishes..) and some sausages along with onion, tomatoes,garlic, olive oil and white wine. There are slight variations on what goes as a main ingredient to this dish. Fish Cataplana or Shell fish cataplana or Meat Cataplana. I observed that the meat one is an adapted one over some period.

We tried it in a Restaurant called ‘Millennium’ in Lagos during our last year trip.. Soon the restaurant became our favourite and we visited again this time as well. It was surprising to find out the ingredients from restaurant staff. It is closer to one of the traditional dish, Meen Kuzhambhu, from south indian fishermen community. In India, the sauce is prepared almost in the similar way minus the wine, plus tamarind,and spice powders in a clay pot. In Algarve, Corriander leaves are used and in the northern Portugal, Parsley is used for garnishing.

We enjoyed the dish along with Ciabatta bread, which was very close to the bread served in Restaurants in Algarve.

Ingredients:

  1. Mixed fish – 500 gms
  2. Mussels – 100gms
  3. Prawns – 100 gms
  4. Onion – 2 big
  5. Tomato – 4
  6. Olive oil – 2 Tbs
  7. piri piri sauce -1 Tbs
  8. Garlic -5 pods sliced
  9. Salt for taste as required
  10. Coriander for garnishing
  11. White wine – 1/2 glass
  12. Boiled potatoes – 100 gms (cubed or sliced)

Victoria See Barsh fish, Salmon fish, Pangasius fish, Prawns and Mussels.

Method:

1. Place the Cataplana pot on heat, add oil and once it is hot add garlic and saute for half a minute.

2. Add onion and saute until it is transparent. Add 2 chopped tomatoes and saute for a minute.

3. Grind the 2 tomatoes in to puree and add it to the pot.

4. Now arrange the seafood in the order they cook. The one takes longer time should go at the bottom and which takes short time like prawns or Muschels should go on the top layer.

5. Add the fish pieces in a layer and sprinkle some salt. Then add potatoes, Muschel and prawns on top layer and sprinkle some salt for this.

6. Add piri piri and add white wine. Close the lid and cook it covered for 10 minutes on a gas stove. Garnish with corrainder and switch off the stove.

My ceramic stove took nearly 25 minutes to finish cooking whole dish.(you also get the special cataplana pot for the induction stoves.). It would perfectly fit for a gas stove.

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Algarve Beaches

The south and south west region of Algarve is surrounded by beautiful beaches with rocky cliffs. Literally every 0.5km to 1 km you may find a beach, which has its own beauty. Meia Praia in Lagos is one of the longest beach in Algarve covering 4kms.  It is famous for water sports and wind surfing. The beach itself reminded me of ‘Marina’ beach in Chennai, India.

Meia Praia

Praia do Camilo Beach. This is one of our favorite beach with beautiful rocks and sea green water.

Praia do Camilo Beach.

Benagil Beach. A small beach but famous for Europe’s largest water caves (Will cover in next posts)

Faro Beach.

People enjoying last weeks of swimming period in Faro. (Swimming not allowed after September due to cold weather)

It was a beautiful experience to see Faro backwaters low tide and high tide changes. The boat happily floating during high tide and rests on sand during low tide as below.This change happens approx. every six hours.

Low tide Faro back waters.

Panoramic view of Porches beach.

Porches church and beautiful view of sea. Dont miss the beautiful sunset from here and bright fullmoon is an added bonus.

 

Happy New Year 2014 / Special cakes of 2013

30 Dec

It’s been quite some time since I blogged. How have you all been? ..  New year is on its way and I wish all my friends and viewers a very happy new year 2014.

In this post, I would like to share pictures of celebration cakes, which we enjoyed and  experimented in 2013. I do say experiment, as I tried out some new cakes. Riya’s contribution is there in all of these cakes. Especially, her Birthday cake was planned and designed by her with a little help from me. The specification given to me was a, 2 stack chocolate cake with Marshmallow toppings with Dolphin and sea animals figurines. Actually, she opted to do this cake as her Birthday present and we did the baking and decoration from scratch the whole day. I can see the love and passion in her for cooking already. The previous day of her birthday is our wedding anniversary and I planned to make Carrot cinnamon cake, which came out too good. With  Lots of shredded carrot , mild sweetness and bit of cinnamon flavoring, it was just perfect for the occasion.

Carrot & Butter cream iced cake( Wedding Anniversary cake)

Riya’s Dolphin and Aquarium cake.

Chocolate cupcake and lemon buttercream icing  for Riya’s school friends.

We celebrated Kesav’s Birthday with a special cake. I tried Japanese cotton soft sponge cheese cake this time. It tastes and feels just like its name – super soft and melt in mouth. This time one thing  was sure that  I didn’t wanted to be in the kitchen on the special day baking without having time to spend in other activities.

So, I planned and prepared the cake couple of days before. Prepared jelly with readymade jello mix.  After baking and feeling the texture of the cake, I immediately felt like trying it out. It was super soft and super delicious. The first two cakes we enjoyed even before the birthday.

Again, I  had to bake the same cake but it was fun and I could experiment and make slight changes and adjust proportions.

Japanese  cotton soft sponge cake with jelly fruit topping for Kesav’s Birthday.

Japanese cotton soft sponge cake.

Riya made these mini square cakes, decorated wonderfully and presented this beautiful jelly fruit cake to her dad.

Mini square cake’s specially made for her Dada by Riya.

 
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