On my recent trip to Portugal, I attended a full day Market Tour and Cooking Class with Cooking Lisbon. The unusually warm October morning began winding through the streets of Lisbon to find my way to Cooking Lisbon. On arrival, I met the co-owner and co-founder Luis, along with chef, Pedro.
Pedro took us out for the first part of the day, and after a short walk we made our way to their local market. This market, only 80-90 years old, is new by Portuguese standards. In his former life, Pedro was a marine biologist, and therefore a wealth of knowledge around the mass of seafood on offer.
The market, like most, was divided into fish, vegetables, fruit, meats, poultry, baked goods and a special area for the cabbage shredders. Shredded cabbage, the highly sought after base of a Portuguese Cabbage Soup, guaranteed to keep you slim your whole life is the secret sworn by the 80 year old cabbage shredders.
With the freshest of ingredients sourced, back at Cooking Lisbon, the preparation began fuelled by olives, bread with a selection of olive oils and chilled Portuguese green wine.
First off, we prepared the most delectable scrambled eggs I have ever eaten in my life. Served as a ‘snack’ in the Portuguese culture, much like Tapas in the Spanish culture. Topped with rosemary and eaten hot, one fine snack indeed. Or could I have found the perfect dish for a Sunday morning? The recipe, you may ask. Well this one is going to be kept secret for a while I am afraid!
The second course, protein packed as well, a layered fish soup known as Fish Cataplana. Simple, full of vegetables and an easy one to control the spice levels of.
The third course (by this time, there was no room in my stomach), of Ribbs with Migas. Ribbs, being meat and migas being the strangest soggy seasoned bread mixture. Migas is used as the starch in the dish and a substitute for pasta, rice or potatoes. More often that not it is used when there is excess, or old, crusty bread lying around the home, as that is entirely what Migas is made up of. Crusty old bread, cooked down with herbs and spices. I have quite a texture issue when it comes to soggy bread, so it was hard to stomach, but surprisingly the flavours came through quiet well.
Then there was desert. Now it is pretty lucky that by dessert time there always seems to be a second stomach ready and waiting. On the menu was Sericaia. A delectable custard souffle, with a fresh dump of cinnamon and served with pickled plums.
Each dish was served with a selection of Portuguese wine and topped of with an espresso at the end.
Both Pedro and Luis ate with us and conversation flowed about Portuguese life, culture and food. A truly delectable and educational way to learn about Portuguese culture.