Mussels in a wine sauce

Makes 4 servings.

2 lbs. Mussels
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. (hot or sweet) Red pepper paste/sauce
1/4 cup of puréed tomatoes
2 tbsp. of cream
1/4 cup Toucinho (Portuguese style bacon)
3/4 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced


Scrub the mussels under cold running water, pulling off the “beards” with your hands.
Fill a large pot with water and add mussels.
Cover and place on a burner with the heat turned off.
In a large skillet, sauté onion in olive oil, adding a 1/4 cup of  cubed pieces of Toucinho(Portuguese style bacon) stirring over medium heat for about 4 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, sauté for 30 seconds, then add the crushed red pepper paste. Turn off heat set to the side.
Turn the burner under the mussels on to high.
Cook the puréed tomatoes for 4 minutes, adding the cream. Then add the wine and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in parsley and keep the sauce over very low heat.
Meanwhile, steam the mussels for about 6 to 9 minutes until they have opened. Then transfer the mussels to the skillet that  has the sauce. Stir some sauce over mussels. Cover with lid and cook for 2 more minutes so the flavours fuse together. Discard any that do not open.
Arrange the mussels on serving plates.
Spread the shells slightly, or break off the empty half; and spoon some of the sauce over each mussel.
Serve at once.
Great with a crusty bread and your favorite white or light red wine. Enjoy !


Bacalhau Gomes de Sá


Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

Ingredients :
( serves 4)



Soak the cod overnight (24 hrs), then next day place it in a saucepan, half filled with water,  boil for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from pot, drain the cod, debone and remove skins from the fish. Then flake it and set to the side.
Meanwhile, dice the onions, minced garlic  and saute  in a fry pan with about a 2 tablespoons of light extra virgin olive oil.

Boil potatoes (white or russet) with skins on, then peeled and cut into quarters, eighths  or  slices. 
Mix in the  drained, flaked cod. Add the fried onions and garlic. Add your salt and pepper to taste.  Add 2 tbsp. of olive oil.  Add your glass of  white wine to the mix.  Stir everything in. Taste again.

 Lightly cook on the stove for 5  minutes on medium high heat.

Pour immediately in a clay casserole dish, and bring to a hot oven at  (350 to 375 degrees F) for 10 to 15  minutes until  lightly crisp on the top.

Serve on a warm plate, sprinkled with chopped parsley.  Garnished with slices of boiled eggs and pitted black olives.

Enjoy this dish with a glass of Vinho verde or any favourite white wine.

For a visual demonstration, check out the video on Youtube. Look forward to any of your comments.


M. Da Silva


Pimento Paste ‘the essence of Azorean cuisine” in a jar

As with most of the Portuguese recipes I have written in my blog, one common ingredient that crops up  is the use of pimento paste.  What is this “pimento paste” you ask ?  A very special concoction with an interesting history.  The  pimento or pimentão, is a bell pepper,  also known in Latin as  Capsicum. The “pimentão” or  large  bell pepper,  botanically known as fruits, although  generally considered in the culinary world  to be vegetables.   There is also the cherry pepper which has commonly  been  referred as pimento  in the English speaking world. The pepper is mainly used in creating the red filler for Spanish olives and not to be confused with the Pimento traditionally used by the Portuguese in their paste.   In fact,  it’s the red bell pepper that has been widely used in the making of pimento pastes within  the Portuguese community. Some Portuguese natives refer their paste as  “Pimenta Moida” the second word pronounced mo-wee-da, which translates to  ground or puréed  pepper.

There are two main available textures:  The Incopil brand, which is  a deep red thick paste similar to that of  tomato paste. The other widely commercialized paste has a more liquified consistency which includes sparse remnants of the yellow seeds.  Some brands of the paste  available in the Ontario market are Ferma, Borges and Atlantic.  In the U.S.  there’s Corisca and Incopil, just to name a few. In both of these textured varieties, there’s a  high sodium content, which would reduce the need for additional salt as you cook.   Typically these sauces are available  in “sweet” and “hot” taste intensities.   Some Portuguese food connoisseurs  refer the very hot sauces as ‘Malagueta’ pronounced mal-ah-ghe-tah.  Which again the use of red peppers although the “hot” genus plants Portugal peppers are incorporated into the mix.   According to my experience  in the Portuguese Canadian culture,   these sauces, (both sweet and hot),   were made at  home during the fall harvest season.  The traditional gathering of farm bushels full of red peppers bought at local farmer’s markets and specialty stores. Washing and preparing the peppers to be fed  through a meat grinder, followed by adding coarse sea salt to the red liquid, and then transferring into sterilized jars, a  very time-consuming process.   Although the end product, a well used cooking and table condiment in most Portuguese kitchens throughout the year.

Today most people buy their pimento paste at Portuguese food stores, online sites and large well stocked grocery chains  such as Fortino’s and Metro.  These wonderful  authentic food enhancers can cost between $2 Cdn.  to $3. US depending on the supply and demand of the region.  So if you want to add some Portuguese authentic flavour to your everyday meals, don’t forget to add a little ‘Pimento paste’  to your food shopping cart …  or as some Portuguese would say ” Pimenta Moida“.  In my view,  it’s like having  “the essence of  Azorean cuisine”  in a jar.

Written by Manuela (aka Mannie)  Da Silva
Creator of  “A Portuguese Cook – The Series” on Facebook


Strawberry Short Cake

Okay this may not be a Portuguese old style cake…or is it ?  I will let you decide on that after reading the recipe.  Really if you think about it, eggs happens to be a key ingredient in many Portuguese desserts…so there you go ! Enjoy !

The Cake:

6 or 7 eggs
1 1/2 cups of sifted white flour
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1  cup of white sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of magic baking powder
1 cap full of brandy or Scotch liquor
1 tsp. of Vanilla extract

Custard Cream:

5 large egg yolks
4-5 tbsp. of sugar
4-5 tbsp. of flour
1 tsp. of coconut extract
2 tsp. of lemon rind
2 tsp. of brandy

Fruit topping about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fresh-cut strawberries
(optional) fresh espresso (at room temperature) 1/2 cup
(optional) kahlua liqueur about 2 or 3 tbsp.

The Method:

1)Making the cake: in a large bowl, crack open 6 eggs, add the water, oil, vanilla, sugar, brandy or scotch.
2)Use electric mixer and mix on med. or med high until frothy (about 7 minutes)
3)Slowly add your dry ingredients: flour, magic baking powder, salt and stir with a wooden spoon.
4)Pour into a bundt cake baking pan that has been greased and floured.
5)Bake for 45 minutes…

Making the custard cream:

1)Whisk 5 or 6 egg yolks with 5 tablespoons of sugar… (save your egg whites for another recipe)
2)Add your coconut extract, your brandy, lemon rind, whisk a bit more than pour into a medium sauce pot on medium low heat.
3)With a wooden spoon slowly add your milk and 1 spoon of flour at time, (if it lumps use your whisk instead)
4)You shall stir slowly until it’s a smooth semi-pudding consistency, about 15 minutes of heating and stirring (more or less).
5)Set to the side. Let it cool for about 10 min.

Now the decorating of the cake:

1)Cut the cake in half horizontally to create a layer cake
2)This is the optional part: (Mix the espresso with the Kahlua and pour over the bottom half )
3)Add the custard on that half to be about 1/2 inch thick.
4)Add the sliced strawberries.
5)Put the other half of the cake on the bottom half.
6)Pour the remaining custard cream over it, it will shield the whole top of the cake . Then add the other half of your strawberries.

As indicated the coffee & Kahlua is purely optional…Feel free to make it as my original way by just using the custard & strawberries !

And there you have it….my most favourite, classic old-fashioned strawberry Custard cake….Even Marie Antoinette would be proud. !

Green beans, potato & egg stew

Hello again friends !

Last year when my mom was visiting, we sometimes create meals at a moment’s notice, especially in the summer.  I was growing  Italian broad green  beans, they are so delicious especially in stews. My mom showed me how to make one of my favourite stews, a green bean, potato & egg stew.  Just amazing the aromas that emanate through the kitchen while this stew slowly cooks.  This is actually a great summer favourite, especially when the green beans are in season…and even better when you picked them fresh from the garden. This stew is so flavourful, satisfying and full of nutrients, protein and comfort.   Enjoy a little homestyle vegetarian dish with a dash of Portuguese charm !!!!

Ingredients: (yields 2 adults)

2 to 2 1/2 cups of fresh-cut green beans (cut in 1 inch pieces)
about 2 to 2 1/4 cups of water
1 vegetable bullion cube
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper paste (pimento paste)
3  tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp. of salt
1 tsp of black pepper
3 med. white potatoes (sliced in 1/8 th’s)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. of cummin
1 tbsp. of fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp.  of coriander
1/2 of small onion (chopped in small pieces)
1 clove or pinch of ground clove
3 or 4 eggs
paprika to sprinkle over the eggs
few drops of piri piri
a few leaves of cilantro (optional) towards the end.

The Method:

1)Over medium heat in a medium pot, pour the olive oil and add the chopped onions, stir them up a little. Then add your sliced up garlic cloves, add your salt, black pepper. Slowly fry it up until golden
2)Add your water, should reach about 1/3 the pot. Add your vegetable bullion cube. Let it boil a couple of minutes. Keep the heat to medium, overall.
3)Add your green beans, sliced up potatoes, (cut in 1/8ths)., bay leaf, tomato paste, red sweet pimento sauce, bay leaf, cummin. Let it boil for about 1/2 hr. Stirring occasionally.
4)Towards the last 5 minutes, add the eggs by crack them into the simmering stew. A pinch of coriander &  salt & pepper to taste.
5)Let it simmer until the eggs are over easy or hard-boiled.. however you normally have your eggs. Add some cilantro leaves in the stew.
6)Serve with a sprinkle of paprika over the eggs. And add a dash of piri piri

Enjoy this wonderful homestyle comfort food with a nice glass of red wine or Portuguese beverage Sumol, and don’t forget your favourite home style bread !!!

Let me know how you liked the stew ! 🙂

Mannie (a.k.a. Manuela) 🙂

Chickpea & Cod Salad

One of my all time favourite salads is my mom’s Chick Pea & cod salad. Just Perfect for hot summer days or nights. It’s easy, fast and really healthy for you. For those that are a category 1 Portuguese food eater, skip the cod and you’ve got a vegetarian version. Either way it’s bursting with satisfying flavour with a dash of new world Portuguese charm ! Enjoy this favourite of mine !


1/2 cup of extra Virgin Olive oil
2-3 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp. of oregano
1 tbsp. of sweet crushed red pepper paste (pimento paste)
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of garlic powder
pinch of black pepper
squeeze of lemon (1 to 2 tsp)
1-2 tsp. of pure honey
1 or 2 drops of piri piri


1 portion of cod (about 1/2 lb) (blanched for 24 hours)
2 cans of chickpeas
1 red pepper or 1 tomato (for lypocene) a cancer fighting anti-oxidant
1 hand full of fresh parsley
1 hand full of fresh cilantro
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
pinch of cummin
1/4 cup of chopped celery
1/4 chopped red onion
1-2 tbsp. of fresh-cut celery leaves
few drops of piri piri pinch of paprika at the end
garlic powder & black pepper to taste.

1)After blanching the cod-fish for 24 hours to get rid of the salt, boil the cod for about 10 minutes or so, and let it cool off.
2)After the cod has cooled, flake the white part of the fish, discard the skin. Put to the side.
3)Mix your dressing ingredients and set to the side.
4)Drain the 2 cans of chickpeas into a sieve, wash it thoroughly. In a medium-sized salad bowl, add your chickpeas, garlic, chopped red pepper or chopped tomato, chopped celery, red onion, parsley, cilantro, celery leaves, cummin.
5)Add the flaked cod. (optional)
6)Add your dressing
7)Finish it off with a few drops of piri piri and a few pinches of paprika.
8)Mix well. Add some garlic powder or black pepper to taste.

And that is it ! Great easy dinner for those hot summer nights..Hey and don’t forget the hearty bread & a glass of red or white wine !.

Looking forward to your comments on this one !

Chow for now…
Mannie 🙂



These puffed pastries are so simple to make, they will make your head spin.  I remember my mom making these when I was a little wee girl, I loved rolling out the dough, then I would watch her cut the dough into triangles.  I have not made any new adaptations to these babies, only instead of grand marnier liqueur, I put a shot of good old-fashioned brandy.


1 cup of white unbleached flour (and additional cup for kneading the dough)
1/2 cup water
1 egg
1 tbsp. of brandy or Grand Marnier
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1 cup safflower oil or light vegetable oil
1/2 cup of sugar & cinnamon for dusting on top of the pastries.

The Method:

1) In a med. bowl, add your flour, egg, water, brandy, salt and mix with a wooden spoon.
2) Once it’s been mixed, it will be very sticky and hard to stir, you would need to add more flour and use your hands to round it into a ball.
3)On a cutting board or clean counter, dust some flour, and start to knead to dough, keep it the ball shape as if you are making a pizza. Knead for 5 minutes or until dough is ready to roll out.
4)Roll out the dough with a dusted rolling-pin, roll it out very thin about the thickness of 4 or 5 sheets of paper.
5)Cut into rectangle or triangle shapes, lay them on the plate. In the meantime, add the oil to the frying pan. Put the temperature to medium or my stove has no. 6 on the dial, let it heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. Test 1 pastry slice into the pan to see if it’s ready…you’ll know when the pastry is bubbling.
6)Add your pastry triangles or rectangle shapes, let them bubble, about 3 or 4 minutes each side. You want them a very, very light golden white colour.
7)Transfer them to a plate with some paper towel so the oil can be absorbed. Then dust your sugar and cinnamon lightly over top.

These treats are great with milk, coffee or tea. My kids just love these with a glass of milk. One is never enough. Makes a great snack for afterschool or a lunch box treat !

Enjoy and let me know how they turn out !

Mannie 🙂

Bolacha Maria Cake

Bolacha Maria

Hello again,

Besides rice pudding, I love Bolacha Maria cake which is a popular dessert within the Portuguese community. This cookie cake reminds me so much of a Tiramisu because of the layering of the cookies.  Although this recipe was created in 1874 by an English baker, it became popularized in Spain and Portugal, particularly during the Spanish Civil war. The creation of  the cake was  to celebrate the marriage of the Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia with the Duke of Edinburgh. It was to help celebrate an exuberant economy, a symbol of prosperity.   Quite the Victorian dessert, but I made a slight variation shhhhh….I added guess what ?…..some liquer…Kahlua.

The recipe:

1 package  of Bolacha Maria cookies  (use 2-3 rolls of packaged cookies)
2 cups of icing sugar (more or less) (you must taste as you add the sugar)
3 egg yolks
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup of espresso coffee (room temperature)
1 lemon or lime for zest (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tablespoon  of Kahlua
sugar sprinkles – colorful ones and/or blanched sliced  almonds, or crushed hazelnuts are nice toppings as well.

The method:

1) Add your soft butter with egg yokes, and begin mixing with electric mixer, adding  slowly the icing sugar,
2) Add your 3 tablespoons of coffee, and mix then add your tsp. of vanilla extract. Add some Lemon or Lime zest, about 1-2  tsp.
3) Add your tablespoon of  Kahlua and again mix well, taste with your spoon to see if it needs more coffee or sugar, or Kalhua 🙂  (you will need to experiment to your taste buds)
4)Then after your icing is done to your liking, with a paper towel sheet spread some butter over top of your cake plate.  
5)Then you begin dipping your cookies and create the layering process. You would prepare this on a round cake plate.
6) Dip your cookies once to fully wet the cookie, but don’t drench it because it will fall apart when you spread your icing.
7)Start with a cookie in the middle and work your way around it like a flower.
8)With your wooden spoon scoop a lump of icing and begin at the center and spread to the surrounding cookies. Making sure all cookies are covered with the icing.
9)Then alternate each layer so as to overlap the layers.
10)When you get to the top layer, cover the rest of your icing and the sides to cover all parts of the cookies. Then you top with your sprinkles or sliced  almonds or crushed hazelnuts, heck you can even crunch up a cookie and use that instead.

Incidentally, would sir or madame appreciate a spot of tea with a slice of Bolacha Maria?
Enjoy !


Octopus Stew with White wine

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Bacalhau Video 1

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