Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meatballs XIV - Portuguese meatballs

This is a catch-up post - about a meal I made a few months ago, but it was a meal made in preparation for our Portuguese vacation, so it seems to fit in with the last post. I ordered this cookbook to prepare for our culinary adventures in Portugal:

And, of course, since I was still on a mission to make as many types of meatballs as I could, the recipe for Portuguese meatballs caught my eye. They are supposed to be made from ground lamb, but I didn't have any around in my freezer and so I used ground beef, which was flavored with ginger, orange zest, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper and chopped fresh cilantro. The browned meatballs are then simmered in a wine and broth sauce flavored with the same spices that were in the ground meat mixture, and finished off with more fresh chopped cilantro. As a side, I made spinach with toasted bread crumbs (also from the same cookbook), one of the best spinach sides I've ever tasted!

I have to say, we didn't have any meatballs in Lisbon or Porto and the meatballs we had in Madeira weren't at all like what I made (but then lots of dishes that we did try had different interpretations in Madeira), but it is a delicious dish all the same!

I'm back again, this time after vacation

I knew I said I was back, and then disappeared for another 3 weeks. This is because we'd been spending the first two weeks of November on vacation - in Portugal!

Huxley Beagle got boarded for two weeks at a dog daycare/boarding place. Within the first 5 days, he got bitten by a German Shepherd dog that he was attempting to hump. What an ambitious beagle! - or maybe the German Shepherd was just really hot! Anyway, the folks at the daycare took care of him and he got all his stitches out the day we came back. Since then, he's been EXTRA affectionate and clingy. I think he's afraid we will leave him again! Anyway, I think he had fun despite his misadventure. Here are some pictures of him "on vacation":

Dressed up as a bunny on Halloween (what humiliation!)

I made a corduroy pea coat for the mild November weather in Lisbon and Porto, where we spent about 5 days each. (Will post about the pea coat in a bit.) We spent the last 4 days of our Portuguese vacation in Madeira, where it was very warm and pleasant. Why Portugal, and those particular places in Portugal, you ask? Well, we always like to take vacations in places where we can learn about a new cuisine or wines. Last year, we enjoyed visiting sherry bodegas in Andalusia so much and learning about the different kinds of sherries and how they were made that we decided to visit Porto to learn about Port wine and Madeira to learn about Madeira wine. And how can you visit Portugal without visiting Lisbon! Of course, we also had lots of chances everywhere to sample the dizzying array of Portuguese table wines made from all sorts of interesting grape varietals that we had never heard of. And, the best part was all the food we got to eat! One thing we learnt - Portuguese portions are HUGE! You will see this shortly from pictures we took of almost every meal. We are on a sort of exercise regimen now, to try to lose all that weight we gained. Not that it wasn't a strenuous vacation - Portugal (including Madeira) is a very hilly country and we took some steep hikes that were really good workouts.

Anyway, I will be posting about Portuguese food and wine shortly, as well as some sewing topics related to our vacation. Stay tuned!

The red balloon marks the location of Madeira.