Portugal 2019

Another reflection on a trip that inspires some of my recipes like Portuguese Pork and Clams

Our trip to Portugal in 2019 was short but sweet. We arrived in Lisbon staying in an air bnb apartment in the buzzy neighbourhood of Bairro Alto, soaking up the local vibe.

On our first night we has dinner at Belcanto …a two Michelin star restaurant by famous Portuguese chef Jose Avillez. It was definitely one of the best dinners we ever enjoyed….the friendly and funny staff, the atmosphere and brilliant food. Truly a night to remember. Here’s the link to my review of the full experience. Belcanto Lisbon Review

Belcanto, Lisbon

Lisbon is a foodie paradise with so many unique taste sensations to explore and the Time Out Markets are a great place to nibble your way through local delicacies and to try out menus from top restaurants in a more casual way. We went to the markets on a few occasions buying a few goodies to take home and also trying out a few of the restaurants. One of these was Chef Kiko Martin’s restaurants O’Surf and Turf…..quite experimental and very interesting seafood and meat combinations.here’s the link to my original story Time Out Markets Lisbon We also had a delicious breakfast and coffee at Fabrica Cafe

Time Out Markets and Fabrica, Lisbon

Of course any trip to LIsbon would not be complete without visiting the home of Portuguese tarts down at Belem. We caught the tram from just near the Time Out Markets enjoying the trip through the suburbs of Lisbon down to the old fort town. We were amazed by the queue for the tarts and opted for exploring the town and fort in the morning, returning to Pasteis de Belem, the historic cafe started by the nearby monks to sell their famed tarts. They certainly lived up to their reputation and after our very hot walk, we enjoyed them with an icy cold Sagres!

Pasteis de Belem, home of Portuguese tarts

Our other days in Lisbon were spent exploring Castel San Jorge, churches, parks, the harbour and experiencing the glamour of bars in Palazzos, Fado and the food of traditional tabernas. As we were staying at the top of the hill in Bairro Alto trips on the finicular and trams were a practical form of getting around. One of the excellent late dinners we had was at Taberna Da Rua Flores amd we enjoyed a very different lunch of Mozambican food at Roda Vida in the colourful Alfama district.

Lisbon sights and taste sensations
Evenings in Lisbon 2019
Fado in Lisbon

From Lisbon we headed to Cascais on the coast for a ver special stay at the Hotel Albatroz. Our visit to Cascais which is only about a 40 minute drive from Lisbon was so relaxing and revitalising but also gave us an insight into the coastal lifestyle and vibe. I wrote about our time there in this post Cascais Being there at the end of the summer season meant it was busy but not overcrowded and we got to enjoy a wonderful free outdoor pop concert featuring Fernando Daniel,the winner of The Voice Portugal! Dancing with the crowd of mainly locals going crazy was so much fun!

Fernando Daniel concert!
Coastal cuisine and colour

In Cascais we tried and loved Azeitao cheese, a sublimely soft and gooey sheep’s milk cheese that I have yet to find in Australia…but writing this has reminded me to find it for our next cheese adventure!

Here’s a link to the story behind the cheese Azeitao Cheese

We also enjoyed lots of relaxed lunches and dinners at places like Cantinho de Avillez, a local Taberna and at the Hotel Albatroz restaurant.

Cascais was a real highlight and a relaxing, fun wind-down spot on our 5 week trip before we went on to Morocco. Would love to go back someday.

Secret Garden brunch at Daisy Green #daisygreen #london

Reliving memories of my recent trip to London as the city rolled towards the COVID-19 shutdown last month…it was a slightly surreal visit to one of my favourite cities but filled with nice memories that will stay with me,

I found this delightful cafe called Daisy Green in Portman Village, on the corner of Seymour st and New Quebec St, just behind Oxford st.

Turns out it’s part of a group called the Daisy Green collection described on their website as:

“The Daisy Green Collection brings relaxed and buzzing Australian food and coffee culture to London. Through individually designed cafes and restaurants, the Collection creates iconic spaces which quickly become local destinations and meeting points for surrounding residents and visitors.”

Downstairs at Daisy Green Portman Village

The Portman Village cafe has been designed by UK street artist, Shuby, into an Alice in Wonderland esq outdoor/indoor garden.

I managed to quench my craving for a real Australian coffee or two and enjoyed delicious avocado on toast, with a sprinkling of paprika, chives and a squeeze of lemon, and a side of real bacon!

I would have been one of the last customers prior to the shutdown, but I sincerely hope the cafe and Daisy Green collection come through the other side of the pandemic to flourish once more.

La Disfida Haberfield: authentic Italian at Home #ladisfida

Thanks to our friend David who suggested, organised, ordered, picked up and delivered our delicious and old school, authentic Italian dinner from Haberfield to Centennial Park tonight.

These are the real friends we all need when life is at risk of slipping into the mundane, but is surprised back into delight by people like him! The delivery was back door, dark lane, personal and special….we almost felt illegal! 😂

Special delivery..back door, back lane from Haberfield to Centennial Park!

Of course we thought we had over ordered but then we ended up devouring the delicious 😋 food with little hesitation. The potato croquettes went first, while we gave the pizza and polenta chips a quick reheat in the oven.

Next up was the divine thin, crispy pizza with delicious oven roasted beetroot salad and our polenta Chips with Gorgonzola sauce. Might need to do an extra lap of the Park to work these goodies off!

An appropriately Italian made dinner setting from Positano for our Italian dinner!
Polenta chips with Gorgonzola sauce.

Pizza, salad and cheeky chillies provide by La Disfida on the side!

Thanks again David! Your kindness and La Disfida’s commitment to old school Italian flavours made for a very special dinner!

Here’s the link to their menu if you are want to enjoy a similar great experience https://ladisfida.com.au

Pick-up #Joe’sTable for 10/10 Tasty #Thai at home

We are trying out our favourite restaurants at home during the isolation period and are discovering that the best know how to transform their dishes for takeaway better than others. One of these is the highly acclaimed Thai restaurant Joe’s Table in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Of course, Asian food is really perfect for take-away but Joe’s food, cooked by the man himself with flair and skill, is better than most!

Thai Fishcakes with crispy shallot, peanut and sweet chilli sauce

In my books, Joe Kitsana’s Asian-fusion classics get 10/10 for travel worthiness and eating readiness! Joe is still running his one-man show, with daily specials and his full dinner menu available, with a 10% discount for pick-up.

Orders can be placed by phone or Joe’s table from noon until 8 PM, with pick up beginning at 5 PM. Dinner menu can be viewed www.Facebook.com/ joestablesydney

While we missed the bizzy-buzzy atmosphere of eating-in at Joe’s Table, enjoying the taste sensations at home made for a delicious dinner at home.

Melt-in-the-mouth caramelised beef rib with pickled mustard greens, chilli and crispy shallots.

Last night we enjoyed Joe’s divine fishcakes smothered in the signature sweet chilli sauce with peanut and coriander topping; melt-in-the-mouth, slow-cooked beef rib with the lingering flavours of masterstock and star anise accompanied by flash-stir-fried crisp Asian greens with ginger and mushrooms.

#Delicious #Indian dinner #Trishna London #b4covid19

Had a delicious dinner at Trishna In Marylebone on my recent, Pre-COVID-19 shutdown, trip to London.

Their servings were also super generous. The soft shell crab and crabmeat entree was divine and very creative.

I had the 3 course dinner special lamb curry and it came with naan, dhal, spinach and baby corn, and rice. The food reminded me of some of my recipes like my Dhal!

Sadly I was so filled up by this stage, I couldn’t fit in the delicious so7nding desserts! I hope they survive the shutdown so I can go back when London re-opens and I can get there again!

#Lucio’s at Home

I have been self-isolating for 2 weeks after returning from a quick trip to London. And, I couldn’t cook the whole time! I have been very well cooked for by my partner Adrian…and he ordered Lucio’s at home for a lovely dinner last week. I could get very used to that! As they say “nourishing food, prepared by people you trust for you to enjoy at home”!

It was more than nourishing, it was delicious and it all travelled very well! and, it came with complimentary homemade biscotti!

Here’s the link to their website https://www.lucios.com.au

San Daniele Proscuitto with Figs and Fig balsamic and Heirloom Tomatoes with Buffalo Mozarella
Lucio’s famous green noodles and swimmer crab
At Home!
Balsamic roasted half duck with chicory and hazelnuts!