Month: November 2014

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Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale & Potato Soup)

Caldo Verde, a Portuguese national favorite.  It is a simple yet hearty soup made with potatoes, kale and chorizo.  Caldo Verde can be found all over Portugal, from Lisbon’s most luxurious hotels to the humblest of country homes.   A powerhouse for minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, kale is the healthiest food on the planet. When the cooler weather rolls around, I am always on the hunt for new and unusual soup/stew recipes, and this one quickly became quite popular in our house.  Caldo Verde is sure to banish away your winter woes.  It is an ideal cool weather, downright satisfying comfort food, that will have you coming back for seconds.  The chorizo adds some spiciness and slight heat to the soup, the pureed potatoes in the soup is wonderfully filling, whilst the greens make it healthy and worthwhile.   A small cup for starters or as a main meal, Caldo Verde is just tickety-boo!  When preparing this soup, pour yourself some port, it helps to get you in the mood :) Serve it with some rustic bread and wallow in praise :).

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Ingredients

  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • olive oil
  • 1 chorizo sausage
  • 6 potatoes
  • 32 fl. oz. low salt chicken broth
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • fresh kale or cabbage (I used both)
  • smoked paprika and olive oil, for dressing

Method

  1. Sweat the onions and garlic in olive oil till translucent
  2. Chop the sausage into small chunks and add to the onion
  3. Sweat the onions and sausage for a few more minutes and then add the diced potatoes.  They will absorb all the flavor from the sausage.
  4. Add the stock, seasoning and bay leaves and cook until the potatoes are soft.
  5. Meanwhile, very finely chop the cabbage.
  6. When the potatoes are ready, mash them into the broth to make a thick base.  Blanch the greens in boiling water for one minute to take off any bitterness, drain, then add to the simmering broth.
  7. Add as much cabbage as the broth will support.  If you want a heavy soup, add loads of greens, if lighter, add less.
  8. Simmer for a few minutes.  The soup will turn the color of jade.
  9. Mix the smoked paprika with some olive oil to make a dressing, and swirl this red magic into the green vibrant soup.

A wee tip on how to get rid of the tough stems on the leafy kale.  Hold the bottom of the stalk and strip, it should come apart easily.  You can use the tough stalks to make extra broth for another time.

I’m taking this Caldo Verde soup to Angie’s FF #42.  Thanks to Angie for this ongoing virtual gathering of foodies from around the world.  It is wonderful to see everyone’s contribution and creations.  Thanks also to our co-hosts Tracy@ScratchIt  and Stephanie@TheCozyCook.  Do take some time to acknowledge and give credit to Angie and her co-hosts who, each week work so diligently make it all happen.  It also qualifies you to be featured the following week.  If you wish to add your contribution, do click on the link for the Fiesta Friday blog party guidelines.  Happy Fiesta Friday all!

GOAN CARAMEL BREAD PUDDING and some history!

Goa Beaches In India

Where is Goa you might ask?  If you know the answer, give yourself a pat on the back.  A few folks look at me quite puzzled when I talk about Goa.  Goa is the smallest state on India’s west coast, it was a former Portuguese colony with a rich history.  The Portuguese ruled Goa for about 450 years.   Swaying palms, white sands and blue waters draw tourists from near and far.  Goa is dubbed the “Caribbean of India”.  My roots are Goan, (as the locals are called), but I have never lived in Goa.  However, our parents and Grandparents came from Goa, and instilled the Goan culture in us.   I recall visiting Goa about 5 different times and each time was pretty surprised at the changes.  When the Portuguese came to Goa in the 1500’s to seek spices, they brought Christianity to its shores, as a result Goans are predominantly Catholic.   Churches form an integral part of the Goan lifestyle.  Built by the Portuguese, they are constructed of whitewashed stone with magnificent interiors. Visiting Goa today, it would not be unusual to see Hindus, Muslims and Christians respecting and celebrating each other’s religious holidays. Goa is a bridge between the East and West, and it definitely shows in its people.  A Goan is said to be born with music and dance in his blood.  I recently had the pleasure of meeting Nandini via the blogsphere.  Nandini is also Goan, calls Goa home and has a wealth of information on her website.  Click here to visit her webpage and read more on the Goan culture, customs and food.  

As you can imagine, with the influence of the Portuguese, Goan cuisine is quite different from the rest of India. Today, I am presenting a Goan Caramel Bread Pudding, not exactly authentic, but pretty common in Goan kitchens.   I absolutely love caramel flan, this is a slight variation, adding whole wheat bread to the pudding mixture. For further recipes on authentic Goan cuisine, click here. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of reduced fat milk or regular milk 
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 10 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 slices of crustless whole wheat bread
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon water for caramel base
  • a pinch of nutmeg 
  • a pinch of cardamom 

Method

In a pan, melt 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon water on low heat. Keep an eye on this as it will start to caramelize and you need to act pretty fast once it gets a rich caramel color.  Pour it into a round pan, tilting it all around the base till it hardens.  Add the milk and remaining 8 tablespoons sugar in a pan and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat, and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and soak the bread in this mixture till it cools.  When cool, mash the bread and add the beaten eggs and a pinch of nutmeg, cardamom and mix well.  Pour this custard mixture into the caramelized pan.  Place the pan in a water bath and bake at 350 degrees for around 45 minutes.  Enjoy!

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I’m bringing this dessert to  Angie @ The Novice Gardener Fiesta Friday # 41 gathering.  Angie so graciously hosts these virtual parties each and every Friday.  Her posts and presentations are always drop-dead-gorgeous – don’t you agree?   I will be co-hosting with Nancy @ Feasting with Friends.  Nancy’s blog is pretty diverse, she enjoys cooking and entertaining and it absolutely blew my mind when her recent post described how she fixed her own dishwasher just before her company arrived.  She IS woman, hear her roar :)  Nancy and I welcome you, we hope you will mingle, enjoy yourselves and get to sample all the contributions.  Joining this virtual party is a wonderful way to meet new blogger friends and to gain exposure and traffic on your blog. For new bloggers, a very warm welcome.  I suggest you read these guidelines to get an overview of how the party works. Just be sure to link your post to Angie’s blog, as well as Nancy’s and mine so that we know you have arrived and can welcome you. All you have to do is click on the button below.  It will take you right to Angie’s party and her own blog.  Happy Fiesta Friday friends!

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