Pequena Gourmet Inglês

Well my treat week became my silent week, a week that ran away from me, and before I knew it I was on a plane to Lisbon, Portugal for a much needed dose of Vitamin D.  I love London, but the daily battle against the grey, the cold, the wet and the crowds is wearying.

There will be more treats to come, but in the meantime, a short interlude for La Petite Gourmande Anglaise to morph into Pequena Gourmet Inglês (I’m sure I’ve got that wrong, my Portuguese is embarrassingly bad).  I could bore you with the proverbial slideshow of blue skies, stunning views, friendly fun people, relaxing atmosphere, gorgeous and unique architecture, endless doorways leading to endless styles of live music, the perfect combination between new and old, tradition and modernity, art, vitality, blah blah blah… but instead, here’s a picture of a place promising “The Sexiest WC on Earth“.

WC

Now there’s the real crowd-puller.

Not only does Lisbon boast the sexiest WC on Earth, it also boasts terrific food.

Portugal is a coastal country, so you can imagine that fish is the dish.  Bacalhau á Brás is a hugely popular traditional dish originating from Lisbon itself.  Strips of salted cod fried with onion, grated potato and bound together with scrambled egg, garnished with black olives and parsley or coriander.  And it’s every bit as good as it sounds, especially washed down with a glass of the local vinho verde; a hugely refreshing young white wine, lower in alcohol and almost imperceptibly sparkling.  Sunshine food.  We took ours on a gorgeously sunny and warm day at a cheery and delightful traditional restaurant in Belém, O Carvoeiro, overlooking gardens with orange trees and fountains, and the famous monastery.

bachalau

Bacalhau á Brás

But Lisbon is also the birthplace of the Pastel de Nata, a custard pastry tart so divine it was originally created by monks.  This I must learn to make.  Think crème brûlée encased in puff pastry, with dustings of cinammon and icing sugar.  No trip to Lisbon would be complete without a pilgrimage to Pastéis de Belém, the bakery next to the monastery, where they originated, to queue with the crowds of others all keen to get their mouths round one of these.  Or two, if you’re as greedy as me.

pasteis

Pastel de Nata

If you track down the recipes for these, you won’t be disappointed.  But, even better, if you get the chance to go to Lisbon, you definitely won’t be disappointed.