Sunday, 20 January 2008

Rising of the Moon

These pictures were taken during a "ski" trip in the Engadin region. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!!!

The Engadin or Engadine (Rumantsch: Engiadina = garden of the Inn) is a long mountain valley located in the canton of Graubünden (Grisons in French) in southeast Switzerland.

It follows the route of the Inn River from its headwaters at Maloja Pass running northeast until the Inn flows into Austria one hundred kilometers downstream. The Engadin is protected by high mountains on all sides and is famous for its sunny climate, beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities.

In Romansch, which is the indigenous language of the region, the "Engadin" literally translates as the garden of the Inn River (Romansch: En). However, historically, politically and geographically, the Engadin refers to the entire region, including the Inn River Valley, its tributaries and the surrounding mountains.

Pasteis de Nata

This week end I felt like baking a pastry that is the most typical one you can find in all of Portugal. A pastry portuguese have at breakfast, middle of the morning, as fact we have it at any hour of the day! The famous Pastel de Nata (or Pastel de Belém as it is known in Lisbon)

What is a "Pastel de Nata"? (Plural: Pastéis de Nata). The "Pastel de Nata" is a small cream tart found throughout Portugal's pastry shops or cafés.

It is believed that it was created before the 18th century by Catholic Sisters at the Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) of Belém, in Lisbon.

Casa Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon was the first place outside the convent selling this creamy dessert, and there they're called Pastéis de Belém, after the name of the area.

Since 1837, people have come here to get them warm out of the oven and sprinkled with the cinnamon and powdered sugar.

It was the sweet chosen to represent Portugal in the Café Europe initiative of the Austrian presidency of the European Union, on Europe Day 2006

Here is the recipe (modified a bit by me...I did not have the mental strength to do the I bought a roll of "pâte feuilletée" ready to be used) of Pastéis de Nata:

Ingredients: (makes 12)

  • 3 egg yolks

  • 115g caster sugar

  • 2 tablespoons of corn flour

  • 230ml cream

  • 170ml milk

  • 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry

  1. Put the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour in a saucepan and whisk together.

  2. Gradually whisk in the milk and the cream until smooth, cinnamon stick and lemon peel.

  3. Place the pan over medium heat and cook stirring until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil.

  4. Remove from the heat and transfer the custard to a bowl to cool down.

  5. Preheat the oven to 190degres/gas 5. Lightly grease a 12 holes 80ml muffin tin.

  6. Cut the pastry sheet in half. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on top and put one half on top of the other.

  7. Roll up the pastry tightly from the short end and cut he pastry log into twelve 1cm rounds.

  8. Roll out each pastry until they're 10cm in diameter.

  9. Press the pastry rounds into the muffin tin.

  10. Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon from the custard.

  11. Spoon the cooled custard into the pastry cases and bake for 25 minutes until the pastry and custard are golden.

  12. Leave the tarts in the tins for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  13. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on top for those who like it.

Bom apetite!!!

100% aprovada!!!

Quero agradecer ao meu "primo" por me ter dedicado este prémio...há já algum tempo é verdade...mas que não tinha tido tempo de reclamar.

É com grande prazer que recebo este prémio. Foi-me dedicado por uma pessoa que hoje em dia tenho prazer em considerar como sendo muito especial e com muita importância para mim.

Como estive afastada durante 2 semanas da "blogosfera"...tenho de pensar seriamente a quem remeter uma copia deste prémio...já que como diz o meu primo FJ, todo prémio tem de ser encarado como seriadade e nõ apeans como algo mais para usar como "decoração"!

A todos os que me manifestaram o seu carinho e amizade enquanto estive afastada, dedico-vos este prémio!

Beijocas para todas e todos!!!


Those who have been leaving sweet messages wondering where I had disappeared as I was away from my blog and from my usual visits to all the "friends", I wish to thank them.

I am fine, I just could not find the physical time to maintain my blog anymore during the last 2 weeks.

Often we think that we won't let work invade your life to the level of not leaving much time for your private life, yet, often you can't escape it and you just need to dedicate more time than foreseen to your professional life rather than the private one.

So, am back, with lots of ideas for future hang on...Pythea is back!!!

Saturday, 12 January 2008

The Horrors

Poverty is a major problem in our world. Children are the major victims.

Every 5 seconds a child dies because of starvation..... that's around 18,000 each day... 5.5 - 6.5 Million children WILL DIE every year!....

Below are links to websites where with just a "free" click you can donate to help feed the children. So don't be shy in sharing them...and click away to help!

Children Care site:

The Hunger Site:

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

For Peace Always...

...for you...where ever you are.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

2000 VISITORS!!!

I would like to thank all those you have passed by this little has now reached its 2000 visitor!

Visitors are from all over the World, but mainly (and in order of importance) from Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, United States, France and Brazil. Many visitors from the Middle East and Asia have also passed by.

To all those contributing to the success of this bolg...THANK YOU... and keep on doing detours around here...many more things are still to be discovered!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Portuguese Traditional Christmas Pastry...III

"Bolo Rei" (literally, King Cake) is a traditional Portuguese cake, which is usually eaten around Christmas until the "Dia de Reis" (literally, Day of Kings, as a reference to the three wise men) on January 6th.

Within the Bolo Rei, mixed with the white, soft dough, are; raisins, various nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.), and crystallized fruit. Also included is the characteristic "fava", tradition dictates that whoever finds the fava has to pay for the Bolo rei next year. Included is also a porcelain trinket and whoever finds it will earn the crown and be King (or Queen) for one day.

  • 100g candied citrus peel, chopped
  • 50g raisins
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 10ml Port wine
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 100ml water (luke warm)
  • 1250g flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 dried fava bean and small trinket


  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 10 candied cherries
  • 2 segments candied orange peel
  • 2 segments candied lemon peel
  • 2 segments candied lime peel
  • Lump sugar, crushed, for garnish
  • Apricot jam, for glaze

To prepare bread:

  1. Soak citrus peel, raisins and pine nuts in Port overnight or until plump.
  2. Sprinkle yeast into water in bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve.
  3. Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Make well in center and pour in dissolved yeast.
  4. Use wooden spoon to draw enough flour into dissolved yeast to form soft paste.
  5. Cover bowl with dish towel and let stand until "sponge" is frothy and slightly risen, about 20 minutes.
  6. In separate bowl, beat butter with sugar and lemon and orange zests until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat well after each addition.
  7. Add mixture to flour mixture and mix in flour from sides to form soft dough.
  8. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface.
  9. Knead until soft, smooth, silky and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  10. Knead in dried fruit and pine nuts until evenly distributed.
  11. Place dough into clean bowl and cover with dish towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  12. Punch down, then let rest 10 minutes. Shape dough into ring and place on buttered baking sheet.
  13. Wrap dried fava bean and trinket separately in wax paper. Insert tiny packages into bottom of shaped dough in different places.
  14. Cover with dish towel and set aside until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

To prepare topping:

  1. Brush dough with egg glaze and decorate with candied fruit and crushed sugar.
  2. Bake at 180°C - 200°C. 45 minutes until golden.
  3. Warm apricot jam in saucepan over low heat until melted, then brush top and sides of bread with jam.
  4. Cool on wire rack.

Portuguese Traditional Christmas Pastry...II

Rocky Balbino has given me another recipe of "filhóses". This one is made with carrots and follows more or less the same procedure than the one with the pumpkin. I never tried this recipe as it is not typical from my region in Portugal. This one is from Douro Litoral and I am originally from Beira Litoral.

Here is the new recipe with thanks to Rocky (the photograph is from a cook book...however, I hope to substitute it soon with a picture of my own when I will have done this recipe)

Filhós de Cenoura


  • 1,5 kg de cenouras cruas
  • 100 g de açucar
  • 2 ovos
  • 250 g de farinha de trigo
  • azeite para fritar
  • 1 colher (sobremesa) rasa de fermento em pó
  • 1 limão
  • açucar e canela moída para polvilhar
  • sal


  1. Corte as cenouras ao meio pelo comprimento e coza-as em água com sal, durante 25 minutos. Escorra sobre um pano dobrado.

  2. Reduza a polme, deite-o numa tigela e junte-lhe o açucar, os ovos e bata muito bem.

  3. Adicione a farinha previamente misturada e peneirada com o fermento.

  4. Misture e aromatize com as raspas da casca de um limão.

  5. Bata tudo com uma colher de pau (CUIDADO COM A A.S.A.E.!!!)

  6. Deixe repousar durante 30 minutos.

  7. Depois molde pequenas bolas com o auxílio de duas colheres.

  8. Frite (poucos de cada vez) em bastante azeite fervente. Escorra o excesso de gordura sobre folhas de papel absorvente.

  9. Mude para uma travessa de louça e polvilhe com açucar misturado com canela.

(Receita da região Douro Litoral)

Carrot Filhóses


  • 1, 5 kg carrots
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 spoon (dessert) pastry yeast
  • 1 lemon
  • Sugar and cinnamon
  • Salt
  1. Cut (and peal if you prefer) the carrots in half and cook them in water with a pinch of salt for around 25 minutes.

  2. Let them dry on a table cloth.

  3. Reduce the carrots into a purée, put it in a bowl and add the 100g of sugar and the eggs. Mix well.

  4. Add the flour and the pastry yeast.

  5. Grate the lemon and add it to the mix.

  6. Let it leaven for 30 minutes.

  7. Do small quenelles of your dough with 2 spoons and fry them in hot oil (once again careful that it is not too hot).

  8. Once fried transfer them into a plate with paper to absorb the excess of oil.

  9. Roll them into a mix of sugar and cinnamon.

(Recipe from the Douro Litoral region)

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Portuguese Traditional Christmas Pastry...

There are some Portuguese Christmas tradition that have stayed on in my family although we have been abroad for so long. Some tradition are nicer than others, and this is the case of a delicious pastry done on Christmas and New Year. They are called "Filhóses" or "Velhóses" according to the region in Portugal where they are made, but the recipe is always the same...most of the time!

This is the tradition I will now make you discover...for me there is no real Christmas without at least one of my mother's "filhós"


· 1500g pumpkin (this weight is after the pumpkin was cooked and dried of its residual water) · 600g of flour
· 4 eggs (optional)
· 20g of live yeast
· 5g salt
· a (very) small glass of Port wine
· sugar and cinnamon

1. Peal a medium pumpkin, cut it in cubes and cook it in water without salt. Once cooked, let it dry and squeeze it well to get rid of any residual water.

2. In a big bowl, mix the live yeast in a bit of warm water (careful not hot water, you would “kill” the yeast), add it to the pumpkin with the salt, the Port, the flour and the eggs (if you add eggs you final dough will be a bit “harder” so balance with the quantity of flour used – in my family it is a tradition not to add the eggs, and the result is always so soft and nice).

3. Cover the bowl with a folded blanket and let it leaven as long as necessary. For a minimum of at least 3 hours!

4. After the dough has leavened, put vegetable oil in a pan and once hot form a ball of dough with a spoon and drop it in the oil, let it fry (careful that the oil is not too hot otherwise your dough would burn outside and be raw inside.

5. Once fried, roll them in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.

6. Serve them warm with a glass of Port!