Local Heart, Global Soul

November 9, 2012

The Replica of Flora de Lamar Stands Tall… VERY Tall…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just around the corner from Dutch Square in Melaka, is a sight that will stop you in your tracks and make you go “whoa!!!”.

It’s been out of sight whilst we’ve been in Dutch Square but now that we’ve rounded the corner the exclamations and “wow’s” are coming thick and fast.

What confronts us is a full sized replica of a 16th Century Portuguese galleon called the “Flora de Lamar” that sank off the Melaka coast whilst returning to Portugal. It’s beyond massive: standing at 34 meters (111.549 feet)  in height and 8 meters (26.246 feet) in width.

By today’s standards for ship proportions, this galleon looks stunning but I find myself wondering where in earth the centre of gravity is and if  maybe it sank because it was simply too top heavy?

It’s massively tall for it’s length… but since the Portuguese successfully circumnavigated the globe and were master mariners it’s clearly must have been a design that worked. It’s possible for visitors to climb up to the upper deck of the galleon to enjoy the view.

Maybe it’s just as well we don’t have time to go aboard, it’s a step too far for me on crutches… definitely something for a return visit. The museum itself is housed inside the  replica ship and focuses on the maritime history of Melaka throughout it’s various phases: from the Sultanate, to Portuguese, Dutch and British eras.


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 21, 2011

Camarao Mozambique (Portuguese-Style Shrimp)

This recipe is a favourite  that I discovered ex Recipezaar (now Food.com) website from member “EdsGirlAngie”.  If you try it and like it too then I’m sure she would appreciate a review (link at the bottom of the page).

I was inspired to post this by Raymund’s recipe for Gamba’s  http://angsarap.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/gambas/   that he posted a few days ago because this is a similar-ish Portuguese version of his Spanish style Gambas recipe.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Camarao Mozambique (Portuguese-Style Shrimp)

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/2 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon saffron thread, soaked in 1 tbsp. warm water for 15 minutes
1/2 cup red wine (white wine or beer is also an option)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb shrimp, peeled and cleaned

Saute onion in the butter until almost browned; reduce heat slightly and add garlic, parsley, and turmeric.

Saute another 5 minutes then add water and saffron water.

Cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Stir in wine and lemon juice; bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes to cook off some of the alcohol.

Add shrimp, salt, black pepper to taste and crushed red peppers.

Cook about 5 minutes or until shrimp have just turned pink and are still juicy and tender.

This is normally served in small bowls with crusty bread for dipping, or it could be served over rice.

This isn’t a dish that will be winning prizes for looks, as the combination of red wine, saffron, turmeric, pepper, parsley and and onion made a sauce that turned out a greenish brown colour…  but hiding in there is an amazing taste. Personally we liked that the peppers made it politely firey and the heat could easily be increased or decreased to suit indivual palettes. The rest is a wonderful combination of tastes where none totally predominate and all work smoothly together.

Some other people who have made this recipe commented that the Portuguese also make it with either white wine or, more often beer so now I’m on a mission to try it with beer and to compare the taste. Don’t be tempted to be too heavy on the saffron, a little goes a long way since it’s pungent stuff.

I’ve made this more than once and two finely chopped fresh red chilli peppers added instead of the red pepper flakes suits our tastes just fine.


November 22, 2010

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s no secret that I adore the taste of Portuguese bread.

Not only does it taste amazing but it also is very photogenic.

I do have a secret that you might not know though…

and that is that I simply adore photographing all bread…

Bread is a favourite topic of mine, the crustiness, flouriness, the contrast between the textures  just captivates me.

And surely you will agree,

That these fine examples of the Baker’s Art show…

Portuguese bread is beautiful

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

sigh…. so basic a commodity, but heavenly simplicity….

November 15, 2010

No Name, No Ideas …Just a Visual Clue to Get Me Started.

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are in Vila Nova de Cerveira at the medieval fair.

We round a corner and there is not just a stall, but a massive oven standing a little back from the pavement and a baker in medieval garb busy baking.

What he is baking is an item I’ve never seen before, and they are mega  busy since there is a queue at least three deep at the counter of the stall next to the oven, everyone is eagerly waiting for the next tray to make it’s way from the oven to the front of  the stall.

The queue is so big that it looks like I’d have to wait for the next lot to come from the oven so clearly these are insanely popular.   … and Yes, I tried to ask but the guy shook his head  with a smile and didn’t seem comfortable attempting any English.  It looked rather like bread but it didn’t smell like bread, so I’m left wondering.

I am determined to try and find out these are… if anyone knows and can give me a clue then wonderful, I’d massively appreciate your thoughts.

Meantime, here are photos of the baker hard at work and the gorgeous deliciousness  being served up….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 14, 2010

Ginjinha or Ginja, Delicious by Any Name…

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We have discovered that the northern Portuguese town of  Vila Nova de Cerveira is having a medieval festival.

We stumbled on it quite by chance last evening after returning  from a day out in Porto.

Today is Saturday and we are keen to find out more and explore all the bits that we missed because last night it got too dark, was past the kids bedtime and because we were focused on the music and entertainment going on right next to our outdoor restaurant table.

It’s definitely worth a return visit, in daylight we start to see just how much we missed… we hardly know where to look first.  It was Little Mr who dragged us to this stall… he spied that a drink was being served in a chocolate cup and wanted one.

Bad Luck for Little Mr. that the drink was alcoholic, he is severely underage and has no money so the answer therefore  on all fronts was a resounding “No”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since I wasn’t driving our temperamental rental car, am of a legal age to consume alcohol, and had funds to pay for a taster, no such restriction applied to me and I was very pleasantly surprised by what I tasted.

So what was this drink? It’s called Ginjinha (or Ginja) and it’s a Portuguese specialty liqueur.

I liked it so much that we bought a bottle to take back to The Netherlands to open on a special occasion at soonest opportunity.

Naturally you would not have a chocolate cup on hand at home… so there were also tiny little earthenware cups in a “shot” size  for sale on the stall as well. They were beautiful and they called me, but I already had other Portuguese Food goodies on my shopping list for every tiny spare space in our bags, so we bought not.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In total ignorance I knew nothing previously about this drink, and himself only knew that it was a popular in Portugal, and was a cherry liqueur that he’d tried before and liked.

I looked up Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginjinha to expand my crumb of information and found this:

Ginjinha or simply Ginja, is a liqueur made byinfusing ginja berries, (sour cherry) (Prunus cerasus austera, the Morello cherry) in alcohol (aguardente is used) and adding sugar together with other ingredients. Ginjinha is served in a shot form with a piece of the fruit in the bottom of the cup.

It is a favourite liqueur of many Portuguese and a typical drink in Lisbon, Alcobaça and Óbidos. Other regions produce ginja with protected designation origin, for example the Ginja Serra da Estrela.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Ginjinha of the Praça de São Domingos in Lisbon was the first establishment in that city to commercialize the drink that gives its name to it.

A Galician friar of the Church of Santo Antonio, Francisco Espinheira, had the experience of leaving ginja berries in aguardente (the Portuguese brandy), adding sugar, water and cinnamon.

The success was immediate and Ginginha became the typical drink of Lisbon. In the 2000s, the business was in the hands of the fifth generation. Currently, “the Ginjinha” is an exporter for the market in the United States. The production of Ginjinha reached over 150 thousand litres per year.

In many places of Portugal, especially in the Lisbon and Oeste regions, there are several producers of this traditional liqueur. In Óbidos, Ginjinha is commonly served in a small edible chocolate cup.

… So Thank you Wiki for enlightening me, here are some photos of the rest of the stall…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 15, 2010

Portuguese Homemade Piri-Piri (Hot Sauce) Mia’s Way…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

I’m a Recipezaar.com member and have a friend there called Mia… She lives in Portugal and has a family recipe for traditional Piri Piri.

What is Piri Piri? it’s a Portuguese traditional hot sauce that comes in several forms: a sauce version and can also be bought in a dried form of pepper flakes. Both are very hot, so use a little until you get used to it and add more in very small increments until you get the desired heat.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Portuguese Homemade Piri-Piri(Hot Sauce) Mia’s Way
Recipe #336778
40 min prep
Makes 4 , one liter jars


2 kg hot red chili peppers
3 bulbs of garlic
2 cups olive oil
1 1/2 cups coarse salt


1. First remove the stems from the hot peppers, but leave the seeds in.
2. Next you peel the garlic bulbs, and the onion.
3. Add all of the ingredients into a blender, for the exception of 1/2 cup salt and olive oil.
4. Blend everything until its very well blended. Like a thick sauce.
5. Now you pour it into a bowl, and sprinkle the remaining salt and olive oil over the sauce. Leave it for 4-5 days in a dark cool place, remember to stir it 2-3 times a day.
6. Now just pour into distilled jar, add a little more oil if it looks too dry, and store away. Enjoy!

Mia said: I got this recipe from an aunt of mine years ago. You can add it to a roast B.Q. into what ever you desire. Sometimes if I have fresh parsley on hand I add that to. I usually make enough to do me the whole years, sometimes more. But “BEWARE” its very “HOT” so have the beer handy! Ha!! I hope you all enjoy it, as much as I do.

If you make this and would like to review it, you can do so here:


I used Scotch Bonnet peppers when I made this and believe me, there are very  very fiery indeed. A small half teaspoon is enough heat for an entire meal… for us at least.  The heat you will get will depend entirely on which variety of  hot peppers you use.  With this recipe you will have a decent  supply of Piri Piri, I bought my Scotch Bonnet peppers at the Haagse Markt for Euro 2,- per kilogram, so this is a very cheap recipe to make.

DO wear gloves when dealing with your peppers and take care of your eyes, even leaning over the food processor will leave you breathless, this stuff is very strong. Keep well out of reach of children. Add this to any recipe where spicy heat is required.

Thanks Mia for a brilliant recipe!

July 4, 2009

Bacalhau – Salt Cod and how to prepare it, step by step.

Filed under: FOOD,PORTUGAL,Portuguese Food,Traditional — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
Bacalhau à Gomes De Sá /Cod & Potato Cape Verd (photo © kiwidutch)

Bacalhau à Gomes De Sá /Cod & Potato Cape Verd (photo © kiwidutch)

Let’s look a my Portuguese word for the day: “Bacalhau” .. or as it is known in English – Salt Cod.

It was somewhat of a surprise for me to discover that Bacalhau, one of the most important and strongly identifiable ingredients of Portuguese cuisine is not actually native/ local to the Iberian peninsula’s waters. The Bacalhau or Salt Cod as it is known in English, is traditionally imported from Newfoundland or Norway and has been a staple of the Portuguese kitchen for hundreds of years after the highly successful preservation technique of salt drying was discovered some four or five centuries ago.

In recent decades however, world stocks of cod have declined dramatically, turning Bacalhau from a cheap routine meal in the Portuguese kitchen into an expensive treat often reserved for special family occasions and national holidays.

That said, Bacalhau is a treat that in my humble opinion, and according to my own personal list of “100 must-have taste experiences before I die” must be tried at least once in your lifetime, the flavour is excellent and the curing process seems to give a strength of flavour to the fish, without it to me at least, being overly “fishy” as some more oily fish are apt to be.

The first thing to do is to track down some salt cod… depending on where you live in the world this is sometimes easier said than done, but once located it is well worth the effort. The second thing is that now you find yourself in possession of a length of fish that is hard and brittle and looks like it would make a decent substitute as a softball bat should Coach accidentally misplace the junior squads’ kit bag this week.

Your dried cod will look like this:

Salt Cod (dried state)  (photo © kiwidutch)

Salt Cod (dried state) (photo © kiwidutch)

The very first time I bought salt cod I made the mistake of buying the longest length of fish that they had in the pile, beguiled by the fact that it looked prettier than the short stubby cut pieces that were nearby.

Yes, they DID ask me in the shop if I wanted it cut, and in fact they asked twice to make certain.. but naively I said no, “no thanks, no problem, it’s fine as it is“. Wrong move, as I found out to my horror at home, faced with a dry and solid piece of fish that was easily four or five times longer than the width or depth of my largest and most cavernous cooking pot.

My dear husband, once he finished wiping the tears away from his face from laughing so hard at my dilemma, came to the rescue with a handsaw and diligently hacked away at my treasured find, while I swiftly came to the conclusion that the learning curve for dealing with this simple fish was steeper than I first imagined… or that I was indeed dumber than I liked to think.

The moral of the story is of course: buy the small bits or gratefully accept the shops offer to cut it for you, because in the end you will be picking this fish off it’s bones and not serving this as a length of fish, so it’s appearance in it’s salted form really doesn’t matter.

What does matter however, is that wherever possible you should try and buy pieces that are all roughly the same size and thickness, as this will help you to get a more even cooking time once you are ready for that part of the process.

Oh well, at least said husband knew from previous Portuguese travel experiences that Bacalhau was worth his sawing efforts, and the bonus was that our hand-saw got the scrubbing of it’s life both before and after the Bacalhau surgery so having done at least one item in the family tool kit a favour, I was ready to tackle the business of cooking my brand new finned friend.

Actually, after this shaky start it all turns out to be far easier than I had thought, in fact I liken dealing with Salt Cod to making your first pastry from scratch: you sweat about it for ages, then muster up the courage to do it and once you actually brave your fears and get into it you discover than it’s far easier than it looks and wonder what on earth you ever worried about in the first place and why didn’t you get around to doing this years ago?

The process is alarmingly simple but it does take time… and the time is something you can’t take a short-cut on, the soaking process is fundamental to the success of your recipe.

Immerse your Bacalhau in a large pot of clean cold water, and let it soak for a minimum of 24 hours, changing and refreshing the water several times during the soaking period.

Salt Cod (soaking)  (photo © kiwidutch)

Salt Cod (soaking) (photo © kiwidutch)

Refresh the water around your Bacalhau one last time and add the following ingredients to the pot:

2 lb salt cod (1 kg)
1/2 cup white vinegar
2-3 carrots, diced ( use several if they are small)
3 celery ribs
1 onion, cut into quarters.
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried parsley or few sprigs fresh parsley.

This favourite recipe is my basic starting point, but over time I have amended it somewhat in that usually I throw in some peppercorns ( only a few, if I am too lazy to pick them all out later ) and if I am better organised I make a small boquet-garni of whole black peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley and tie them into a little muslin bag that then gets tied up and goes into the pot. If your family is like mine and celery is not in their top 10 ( or even 50 ) vegetable list, then I sneak in more here, ditto the onion and I never do things by halves so I usually shove in several bay leaves. We like flavour in our house. Bring it on… the bolder the better.

Salt Cod (soaked, ready to cook) (photo © kiwidutch)

Salt Cod (soaked, ready to cook) (photo © kiwidutch)

There is no salt in the recipe because of course the fish bought the salt with him, and even after a through soaking the residue should easily be enough to complete and compliment the rest of the seasonings.

Now bring your water to the boil and simmer until your cod is just cooked though (about 15 minutes for my pieces) Don’t be tempted to overcook it or the texture of the fish will not be as nice in your finished dish.


Now you have successfully “dealt with” your Bacalhau.

Salt Cod (taking it off the bones) (photo © kiwidutch)

Salt Cod (taking it off the bones) (photo © kiwidutch)

All that remains is to carefully remove the skin and bones so that you have a wonderful pile of fish all ready to add to your favourite Portuguese Bacalhau recipe.

Salt Cod (Bones out and ready to go...) (photo © kiwidutch)

Salt Cod (Bones out and ready to go…) (photo © kiwidutch)

Now that you have mastered the Bacalhau preparation process, See wasn’t that easy? Usually I buy as much fish as I can get into two of my biggest pots, I soak and boil both and then, once the fish has been prepared and off the bone, I bag meal sized amounts and get what I am not using right away into the freezer. This means that when you want to make a different Bacalhau recipe another time, you can skip straight to the recipe and the most time consuming part has already been taken care of.

Soon I will be introducing you to some of my favourite recipes recipe that uses the cooked fish flakes that are before you…

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