Friday, March 11, 2011

A Portuguese Dinner Party

We vacationed in Portugal for a few weeks in 2009 and that inspired a fun dinner party we had following the trip. More on that in a minute, but first a few comments on the incredible design!  The architecture in particular really made an impression on me.  It has beautiful flourishes, similar to the better-known French style, but with more richness and depth.  The close proximity of Spain and Africa, combined with the preferences brought back by explorers from their pursuits, provides for a fantastic architectural combination.  Here are a few of my favorite shots:

I loved all of the old iron work on so many of the doors. 
That is one of the city's squares reflected in the windows.

Art abounds in every public park.

The old Belem Monastery that is the namesake of one of the recipes below!

Gorgeous mosaics are everywhere.

This tall beauty would provide some design challenges.  :)


More iron work and definitely art-deco inspired. 
Lisbon is on seven hills (it has a very San Francisco feel to it!)
so many of my pictures are a bit slanted...

Beautiful monuments to their former glory...

I'm a total sucker for iron railings and found so many designs there that inspired me!

A lovely flower shop on one of the chic shopping streets. 
Notice the great sign and again the beautiful mosaic walkway.

The doors throughout Portugal were to die for.  I must have taken
100 pictures just of the beautiful doors!  You can find a sampling here.

Anyway, getting back to the Dinner Party idea...we didn't know much about Portuguese food before our trip, but we were bowled over by how good it was!  The pastries in particular were irresistable.  When we got home, I was inspired to create the following menu to share our experience with some special friends.  I used the recipes from this cookbook and they all turned out great!  (The almond cake in particular was a big hit.)

{David Leite The New Portuguese Table Cookbook}
Portuguese Corn Bread
Grilled Tomato Spread

Main Course:
Portuguese Marinated Pork with Piri Piri sauce*
Grilled Chicken with Piri Piri sauce*
Savory Cheese Loaf
Green Salad

(I made three because I just couldn't choose!)
Bolo de Amêndoa - flourless almond cake
Palais de Belem - an irresistable custard in little pastry cups
Pastéis de Coco - miniature coconut cakes

We bought several varieties of Portuguese wine for the party which was fun, but this was our favorite:  Quinta do Crasto, Douro Reserva Old Vines 2005

*The new ingredient in my pantry is Piri Piri sauce...a red oily liquid that is everywhere in Portugal.  I add a litte to marinades of all kinds for a silky heat that is delicious!  In case you don't know about it already, piri-piri is the Swahili word for the incendiary red peppers of former Portuguese colonies in Africa. Because the Portuguese were such avid explorers during that time, it didn’t take long for these pods to arrive on Portuguese tables.  You can find it easily by searching on line for importers of piri piri sauce or make it yourself using recipes online.   

 I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we have!!

If you want to read more about our time in Portugal you can also look here.


Hamptontoes said...

Thanks for sharing! I could look at images of architecture all day. You captured great shots. And, I think my husband would love to try that corn bread!

Anonymous said...

gorgeous architecture...and I love iron works and railings as well...

Anonymous said...

Fantastic photos - we'd love to go there one day too. We did however enjoy the amazing banquet meal you prepared. Katie

Cheryl S. said...

Thanks for this great post. I'm a door, window, railing, mosaic, architecture, heck, I just adore it all, person.
I love reading your posts.


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