Portuguese food

You may remember a while back that I got a surprise in the mail from my friends Paulo and Ana of Postcrossing fame.

It was a Portuguese cookbook called Piri Piri Starfish and I have cooked from it, but just not had time to document what I cooked the first time and how it turned out.

I chose 2 simple dishes – Calamari with Lemon, Garlic and Piri Piri and Roasted new Potatoes with Tomatoes and white Wine.

I knew that Dave would have the potato dish but not the calamari as he is allergic to seafood.

Calamari  Roast potato


Both were simple dishes to prepare and in a way quite good plain simple food with ingredients that most kitchens have on hand. I did have to go and buy Piri Piri and the closest I could find was Piri Piri seasoning. I also went a bit light on using this as I didn't know how hot it was. The bottle said HOT. I did want to try one of the salted cod dishes but I have been unable to find salted cod in my shopping area.

Potatoes  finished potatoes

I love calamari or squid, which is what we called it as kids, and before it became a yuppie food and not bait. I find it economical to buy and cooked right very tasty. I often have calamari in the freezer for when I want to have a feed.

cooking calamari  cooking with spices

The finished dish was yummy and I realised that I could have been a bit more generous with the Piri Piri as I like hot and spicy foods and I had no trouble with the taste.

Cooked calamari



Lovely and not as scary as I imagined. Yes I went with simple foods and really enjoyed the tastes. Satisfying and filling.


I am continually surprised by the generosity and goodwill that comes from my online friends and today was no exception. When I went to the postoffice to collect the mail there was a card in the postoffice box telling me that there was a parcel inside to collect.

What was in that parcel defied any expectations. There was the most glorious book on Portugeuse cooking "Piri Piri Starfish" from my special friends Ana and Paulo (who are Portuguese). Paulo started the postcrossing project that is a source of much enjoyment and friendship through postcards from around the world that I am a member of.


Book cover

I am a bit of a foodie (my waist-line attests to this) and at times when Ana talks about a particular food she likes or misses from her home of Portugal I will ask her what it is etc. This book is absolutely Portuguese cooking heaven and the pictures in it show so much of not only the food but the way of life and people of Portugal.

pages from book

The author of the book has a running commentary on each page on the history or location of where he ate the food and the recipes as he travelled around Portugal.

bean soup

I now have a dilemma!

Which recipe to try first.

Some of the ingredients are available locally to me and in season. The main staple of Portuguese cuisine ‘salt cod’ isn’t but I am hoping that enquiries at an international grocery shop up in Adelaide may produce some of the missing ingredients. Many of the recipes use everyday food staples like potatoes and eggs and the author does give suggestions of substitutes if they are not available in your country. Chourico I haven’t seen locally but the Spanish chorizo made an appearance in my local town about 12 months ago, so I will use that when called for. Piri Piri oil is used a lot and the author gives a recipe on making this but I have seen in the local supermarket Piri Piri something, will need to have a closer look and decide if it will do.

I am surprised at the amount of pulses used in the recipes and that fits in well with my recent classes on cooking with dried beans. Seafood dominates and not just the expensive seafood but the cheaper types like sardines and octopus and calamari.

And what recipe book wouldn’t be complete without a dessert section. All simple family fare with regional recipes and fresh ingredients.

The rooster in this pic is very common in Portuguese households and is called Galo de Barcelos or Goodluck Rooster.

Thank you Ana and Paulo for thinking of me with this wonderful gift for my birthday. I will have fun trying out the recipes.

Portugal street