portugal

Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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A few  years after I was born, the German “Wirtschaftswunder” (Economic Miracle) was in full swing (I wonder if my existence helped?), and Germany was in need of a new, different kind of army – an army of workers, to fill all the open labor-positions. It was the time (1955) when Germany invited millions of “Gastarbeiter” (Guest Workers) to come and make their luck and life in Germany. Mostly poor, working class people from Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and eventually, in 1968, Yugoslavia, took a chance and started a new life in this new promised land, first alone, working very hard, saving money, learning the language and customs and then, usually a couple of years later, having their family join them and slowly but surely integrating themselves and their families, and most of them eventually becoming Germans. (Passport, language, customs, and all) 🙂
I don’t want to go into the political, economic and social results of this enormous “Völkerwanderung” (Human Migration), but rather talk about the effect it had on the culinary landscape.
Up until then, there were basically three culinary styles in Germany –
“Deutsche Hausmanskost”, which translates into plain home cooking
“Deutsche Koch Kunst”, or German Culinary Arts, meals that are as pleasing to the eye as to the palate,  primarily available in upper-class restaurants, hotels, and delicatessens.
“Traditional French Cuisine”, also mainly available in upper-class restaurants, hotels, and delicatessens.
Of course, this all changed rapidly with the influx of millions of people cooking the traditional food of their countries of origin, and within a few short years one could easily find a Turkish doner shop, Italian pizzeria, Greek taverna, Spanish tapa restaurant, Portuguese cervejaria or Yugoslavian restaurant serving food from all over Europe, first in the big cities, but eventually even in the smallest of villages.
(Incidentally, nowadays you are more likely to find an ethnic restaurant than a typical “German Gasthaus” (German Tavern) in most places 😦
Securely wedged in my memory are the Cevapcici of that time. Up ’til then, we did not know “Burgers”. We had either buletten or meatloaf, typically served hot with mashed potatoes or pasta and mushroom sauce, or served cold with bread and mustard.
So when Cevapcici came along, they were pretty special and exotic to our palette and view.
Spiced with plenty of garlic, oregano and cumin among other seasonings, they tasted and looked very different to anything made with ground lamb (or any other ground meat) we’d seen up to then.
They were usually served with rice and salad or with some type of flatbread and salad, often accompanied by a yogurt sauce and raw onion rings.
Again, at the time, this was pretty new and exotic for most of us 🙂
So when I got this ground lamb yesterday, I was looking forward to preparing and eating, for the first time in many years, this wonderful dish.
I am happy I did because I enjoyed every morsel of it (and so did Bella) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !   (And full of memories) 🙂
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Pls note:
Replace the lamb with beef, or pork or a mixture of both if you prefer.
Cevapcici can be grilled, sauteed, baked (roast) or fried. However, do NOT overcook them or you are left with a dry stick of coal-like substance 😦
See the pic of the close-up of the meat. Well done but VERY juicy and tender 🙂
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Click here for  Potato Salad Recipe   (Add sliced, seeded cucumbers if desired)
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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

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Seafood , wine, olive oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, beans and potatoes give this dish that familiar taste and appearance you’ll find when ordering seafood stew along the coast of Portugal and it’s islands.
Maria and I have had this particular stew (sometimes with, sometimes without the beans) a couple of times in the home of one of our friends in Funchal, Madeira, while living there, ca 17 years ago.
Served with rustic bread and LOTS of red Douro (Portuguese wine from vineyards along the Douro river) and Madeira (fortified wine from the islands of Madeira), seafood cooked in wine has since become one of my favorite meals to share with friends, and it has been one of the foods I remember most of that happy time, that beautiful country and its wonderful people.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Food and Memories of Portugal  on  ChefsOpinion
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Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

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Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

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Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Piri Piri Chicken With Portuguese Fried Rice

 

Piri Piri Chicken

Piri Piri Chicken

Here  we have two beloved Portuguese dishes which are not typically recognized as Portuguese staples (rice) and chicken (piri piri chicken).
Piri piri chicken is a favorite way of preparing chicken/poultry in most parts of Portugal, especially in Lisbon. I remember eating grilled chicken brushed with a spicy sauce in Lisbon way back in the seventies and then twenty five years later again, when I lived on Madeira with Maria, although I did not recall the “piri piri” part until I came across this video on my Portuguese friend’s Peter a few weeks ago (see link below) .
As for “Portuguese fried rice”, any cuisine in which rice features as a staple also has at least a few fried rice recipes, since everybody is used to reheat the leftover rice in a pan and adding “stuff” to it, usually in the form of other leftovers and/or veggies, seasoning, eggs, protein etc.
Grilling over an open fire is, of course, one of the best ways to cook chicken (or most other protein, no matter the country, style of cuisine or occasion. Brushing the meat when it almost ready to be served with a savory, spicy sauce and a squirt of fresh lemon or lime is all one needs to lift said protein (or vegetables) one more step up to reach culinary heaven 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more info about  Piri Piri Sauce
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Click here for a short video about  Piri Piri Chicken
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Click here for more info about  Food , Dining & Drinks In Portugal
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Pls note :
Piri piri sauce is prepared in a myriad of different ways, depending on the country, region, family preference, etc. The one essential common ingredient is the use of piri piri peppers. Also, the amount of piri piri you brush onto your food depends on your own preference. As you can see in the picture, I love to be generous with my thicker than usual  piri piri 🙂
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Hans’ Piri Piri Sauce Recipe :
4 tablespoons lemon juice, 5 tablespoons olive oil1cup vinegar, 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (optional), 1 tablespoon garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon piri piri peppers ;
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

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Piri Piri Chicken And Portuguese Fried Rice

Piri Piri Chicken And Portuguese Fried Rice

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Portuguese Fried Rice

Portuguese Fried Rice

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Piri Piri Chicken And Portuguese Fried Rice

Piri Piri Chicken And Portuguese Fried Rice

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Being a Chef.......
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Portuguese Eggs

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While Maria and I were living in Funchal, Madeira, we became friends with a wonderful local couple, Balduino and Felicidade. They invited us to their home often, where we usually had an early brunch and then set out to explore the island, usually by car and sometimes by scooter. After a while this became a wonderful routine and it was Balduino’s pride (and our enjoyment) to prepare a different variation of “Portuguese Eggs” each time we met at his house. Over time, we were able to enjoy this dish with squid, octopus, lobster, shrimp, espada (the most popular local fish), chorizo, ham and different greens and herbs. He sometimes sprinkled grated local cheese on top of the eggs before baking, but he never included the more common ricotta cheese. Always accompanied by hearty, home-baked bread and local wine, it was the perfect delicious and fortifying meal to keep us going for hours on our expeditions around the island 🙂
(To be truthful, sometimes we replaced the tours with more wine and a bottle of port and just talked about past and future island-explorations).
Let me say here that Madeira is one of the most beautiful places Maria and I had the luck and privilege to live together 🙂
Here now is today’s version of “Portuguese Eggs” in memory of great friendship, great places to live, happier times and the great love of my life, Maria, who passed away exactly 3 years ago.
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Love ……….
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Click here for more memories of  Madeira  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for all about  Madeira
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Portuguese Eggs

Portuguese Eggs

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Portuguese Eggs

Portuguese Eggs

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Portuguese Eggs

Portuguese Eggs

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Portuguese Eggs

Portuguese Eggs

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Portuguese Eggs

Portuguese Eggs

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Grilled Portuguese Sardines

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During  the time Maria and I were living in Madeira, Portugal,  we usually had grilled sardines at least twice a week. There was this beautiful restaurant, built into a cave in the rock’s below our apartment building, just a three minute walk, which served these wonderful, fresh, juicy, tasty sardines off a wood fired grill. Adorned with just lemon wedges, a small green salad with onions and rustic sour dough bread, this was the perfect meal every time and I remember them very fondly, both for the great food, as well as the romance the surroundings provided to Maria and I.
I usually had all my dinner’s in Madeira with a bottle (or two) of Gatão Vinho Verde, while Maria usually stuck to her diet coke.
While shopping for food on saturday, I came across these great looking (frozen) Portuguese sardines and I just had to get them. I prepared them the way they are usually prepared in simple restaurant’s and homes by the sea – some sea salt inside and out, brushed with olive oil and quickly grilled or sauteed. Then a squirt of lemon or lime and voilà – sardine heaven.

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !

– and yes, Bella and I had all twelve of them at once…….. 🙂
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Grilled Portuguese Sardines

Grilled Portuguese Sardines

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Caldo Verde

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Food memories ……..

Caldo Verde.
For me this recalls the time we were living in Madeira, Portugal. We were living and working in Porto Moniz, in a wonderful apartment overlooking the ocean, close to the center of Funchal, near the rock pool  and a great restaurant which was in a rock cave just below our house and specialized in grilled sardines. During many evenings during the cooler months of the year, Maria and I went across the street to a simple restaurant/kiosk which was located right on the stony beach, just opposite the cave restaurant. While I forgot the name of the places, I remember clearly what we consumed most times: A bottle of  ” Gatao Vinho Verde ” for me, a diet coke for Maria and two bowls of  ” Caldo Verde ” for the both of us if we had dinner on the beach.  Same beverages, accompanied by four orders of grilled sardines (one for Maria, three for me ) when we dined in the Cave.  These simple dinners alway’s made a perfect ending to a busy day.  Memories…….  🙂
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Ingredient’s :

Kale,  thoroughly washed, stems removed
Potatoes,  medium diced
Chorizo,  finely sliced
Stock,  chicken, beef, pork, or vegetables
( I used leftover  smoked pork stock I had in my freezer
from last weeks  “Collard Greens”  preparation )
Garlic,  paste
Onions,  diced
Black pepper,  fresh ground
Kosher salt,
Maggi seasoning
Olive oil,  to saute

Method :

Saute chorizo in oil until starting to brown.
Remove chorizo, reserve. Saute onions and garlic
until translucent, add potatoes and stock, simmer
until potatoes are soft. Mash potatoes or blend with a
stick blender. Add kale and most of the chorizo. Simmer
until kale is soft. Season soup with salt,  pepper and maggi to taste.
To serve, sprinkle the rest of the chorizo on top for color.

Bom apetite !  A vida é boa !
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Some Of The Places I Worked At Over The Years

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Just some of the places I worked at over the year’s.
Many places don’t exist anymore and don’t have
any pictures on the net. I can’t even find a picture
of my own restaurant  ” Gildenkeller ” I had for
a while in East Germany  😦
If anybody out there who worked with me at any point
can help me with pictures of places which are missing here,
I would highly appreciate it if you would contact me. Thank’s  🙂

Life is Good !
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(Hover or click a pic to see the name and location of the place)
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