Monday, October 02, 2006


The wonderful lady over at "Overwhelmed with Joy" is hosting this great recipe exchange today.
I'm sure you're familiar with her weekly "Five Ingredients Friday" feature, so this is just another way to add to your recipe collection.

Here is what she had to say:
As the holiday season draws near, I thought it might be fun to host a holiday specific recipe exchange called Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style! Don't worry, these don't have to be just 5 ingredients they can be as long as you'd like. I don't mind the extra time and effort in the kitchen during the holidays, I just ask that they are tried and true recipes.

As most of you know, I'm portuguese. We have traditions and ways of doing things, and of course we have our recipes for the Holidays.

The traditional Christmas meal in Portugal is eaten during the evening of Christmas Eve and consists of codfish with vegetables and boiled potatoes. This is normally followed by shellfish, wild meats or other expensive foods.

Every house has a rich table set in the living room full with traditional food, cakes, fried cookies, nuts and other goodies! The traditional Xmas cake is "Bolo Rei" (meaning King Cake) which is placed in the center of the table. People drink porto wine, traditional liquors and eat 'azevias' and 'filhozes' (Portuguese biscuits and sweets). The party lasts until the early hours of the morning!

On Christmas Day the living room table remains untouched and people still enjoy their goodies together! Families come together and have Christmas Day lunch together.

With that in mind, I wanted to share a few recipes for some of the foods you will find on the Christmas table. Prepare yourselves, they're not only good, but dangerous (can't eat just one).

(Portuguese Shrimp Turnovers)

1 lb bag of shrimp (salad shrimp works fine)
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1 cup flour
1 cup water

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1 tbsp flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Red chilli pepper flakes to taste

For the Pastry, boil one cup of water with the margarine and a little bit of salt, to taste. When the water starts boiling, add the cup of flour, mixing well until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides. Remove from the pan and turn onto a lightly floured surface.

Knead briefly until dough is smooth and slightly springs back when pressed with fingers. Just don't overwork the dough. Divide the dough into two balls, cover with a dish towel and set aside until it cools down.

For the Filling, in one tbsp of butter, fry the onion. Add one tablespoon of flour and a little bit of water. Add the salt and chilli flakes to taste. Add the shrimp and mix well. I usually go in and add some garlic and paprika or just make sure it has enough salt and pepper.

When the dough is cool, take half the dough and roll out to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a cutter that is 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter (smaller if making appetizers for a party), cut round circles of dough.

Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle of a circle. Fold the dough over to form a half circle, pressing the edges together. Set aside on a sheet pan or tray lined with plastic wrap. Repeat until all the filling is used.

Dip them in beaten egg and then breadcrumbs and then fry them in about 2 to 3 inches of oil, until golden brown. Remove and set on paper towels to drain.

You can also try using Chicken, Tuna or even Codfish in place of the shrimp. These are really really good, and yes they take a bit of time to make, but well worth the effort.

Category: Appetizers

(Cod Fish Cakes)

This is another Portuguese Favorite. They are always a part of the Portuguese Christmas Feast, but they're also present at any gathering, parties, holidays or even as a snack. Try them, you will definitely love them :)

* 5 Potatoes
* 1 Slice of boneless salted cod (2 if small)

* 2 cloves of parsley chopped

* Pepper (to taste)

* Salt (to taste)

* 1 small onion chopped

* 3 large eggs

* ½ tsp. Baking Powder

* 2 Tbsp. Wheat Flour

* Vegetable oil (enough to fill approximately half of frying pan)

1. Cod must be soaked (re-hydrated) in water for 24 hours.

2. Boil potatoes (add salt to water if desired) and cod fish.
3. Once cooked and while cod is cooling, mash the potatoes.
4. Once cod is cool peel off skin and tear into small pieces.

5. Put cod in a clean cloth, wrap it and beat it against a counter.
(This mashes cod into fine pieces.)
6. Once cod is “mashed” into small pieces add to mashed potatoes.

7. Add chopped onion, parsley, pepper, onion and eggs.

8. Mix well.
9. Add baking powder and wheat four and mix well.

Cooking Instructions

1. Heat oil in frying pan, (or deep fryer) once hot, dip two tablespoons into oil.

2. Then grab the mixture in one spoon and shape with other into ovals.

3. Place into frying pan with hot oil.

4. Once it is a golden colour, remove and place on and cover with paper towel to soak up oil.

5. Repeat procedure until all mixture is done.

Category: Appetizers

(Leite Creme)

2 cups milk
7 egg yolks

2 tsp. flour

A pinch of salt

350 g fine granulated sugar (e.g., berry or caster sugar)

A few strips of lemon zest (optional)

1 cinnamon stick + powdered cinnamon

Mix the flour with a few spoonfuls of milk, set aside, pour the remaining milk into a saucepan, add the lemon zest and cinnamon stick. Heat over a low flame, stirring with a wooden spoon, remove from the heat once the milk is very hot, let cool to lukewarm. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks until light and frothy, add to the warm milk, return the saucepan to the heat and remove once the mixture is hot. Add the flour-milk mixture, return to the heat and let thicken, stirring constantly. Remove the lemon zest and cinnamon stick, pour into an oval baking dish, let cool until the custard forms a thin skin on top, sprinkle with 100 g (7 tbsp.) sugar. Optional: heat the base of a cast-iron disk or flat iron over a high flame until white hot and apply it to the sugar for a few seconds to caramelize the sugar on the custard, or sprinkle with cinnamon in a geometric pattern.

Category: Desserts

(Sweet Pasta Dessert)

My greatgrandmother LOVED this dessert, so when Christmas time came around, this was one of the dishes she just had to have. It brings back great memories :)

4 cups water
Rind of 1 lemon, slivered

8 oz angel hair pasta, broken into thirds

2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

6 egg yolks

Ground cinnamon

In a sauce pot, bring the water and lemon rind to a boil. Add pasta; cook until water is absorbed. Add the milk and sugar; bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. In a bowl, beat yolks; add a little of the hot milk mixture. Stirring constantly, slowly add egg mixture to the hot noodle mixture; cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Pour into a serving dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Chill before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Category: Desserts

(Boiled Codfish with potatoes or chickpeas)

Ask any portuguese person, and they are sure to tell you that Christmas isn't Christmas without the Codfish. This is usually the meal fixed for Christmas Eve, it's really really good :)

4 thick slices of salt cod,
150 g (6 oz.) each 8 potatoes or 4 handfuls of chickpeas and 4 potatoes
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 whole eggs, in their shells
Green vegetables - broccoli, fresh beans, spinach, as desired
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
Wine vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil

1. Desalt the cod and soak the chickpeas in the same water for 12 hours;
2. place some salted water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil; add the chickpeas; lower the heat and let simmer covered for 1 hour 40 minutes;
3. check the water level from time to time; if you have to add more water, pour in boiling water - otherwise you risk ruining the cooking;
4. continue as below.

Preparation with potatoes - 20 minutes

1. To the saucepan containing the chickpeas, or another pot half-filled with boiling water, add the eggs, vegetables, potatoes and cod;
2. let simmer uncovered over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are completely cooked;
3. drain the eggs and shell them.


1. Place the cod on a serving platter surrounded by the potatoes, chickpeas and vegetables;
2. garnish with the hard-boiled eggs;
3. place small cruets of oil and vinegar on the table so that guests can dress their plates to their own taste;
4. offer the chopped garlic, parsley and onion in separate little dishes.

Category: Main Dish


  1. WOW!! Thanks so much! I feel like I found a goldmine here...hehe Can't wait to try some of these for sure!


  2. How wonderful that you share special recipes from your heritage. They type of recipes create so many special memories, don't they??

  3. So much great info here. Thank you!

  4. YUMMY!! All I had to hear was SHRIMP!!! I'm trying that one! Thanks for sharing...
    My husband loves fish - so I'll have to try BACALHAU COZIDO COM BATATAS OU GRAO
    (Boiled Codfish with potatoes or chickpeas) as well!
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Love that you are sharing such fantastic recipes from your heritage. They look amazing! I love shrimp and so does our family but I can't wait to try the sweet pasta recipe that your Great grandmother made...yummy! :)

  6. This is fantastic. I love trying new things, and you sure provided some. Those shrimp turnovers are calling my name.

  7. Oh how I love seafood! And I love ethnic cooking. This is fantastic!

  8. This is simply excellent. Wow! I will be saving everyone one of these and trying them. I love fish, all kinds so these are a real treat.

    Blessings Galore to you!

  9. All of these recipes are very different from anything I've ever had. I love introducing different cultures and food to my family. I'm definitely going to be trying a few of these out this year. Thanks for sharing! =)

  10. A lot of great new dishes to try. Thank you. I might make the shrip turnovers.

  11. Sandra, I love that you've shared some of your family's portuguese recipes. I may not wait until Christmas time to try some of these!

    Thanks so much for participating in my Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style recipe exchange. I really do appreciate it!

  12. Hi Sandra! I'm a portuguese 26 years old, married to an Irish man and mum of one, expecting the second at the moment... This morning was craving for rissois de camarao...and really didn't know what to do so far away from i log in and found your amazing blog, so many great things from home...anyway i cook the rissois and really loved it!!! thank you so much for sharing all this great recipies from our country! As well was so surprised with the tomato jam... use to watch my grandma cooking it for our afternoon snack and really brings me special and sweet memories. thank you!

  13. Faça favor de me dizer se quer que lhe envie uma receita que poucos Portugueses conhecem. Teco-Lameco diz-lhe alguma coisa?....

  14. Muito obrigada pelas receitas :)
    Eu tenho-as em portugues e e dificil traduzir as medidas para Ingles :)