This city has been my home for over two years now. For a certain someone it’s been much longer; over seven years if you include the stint he did here before yours truly dragged him back, all because I wanted to join the flocks of Kiwis in London. This city has been good to us, but recently we’ve been struck with a case of itchy feet and wondering what other cities could be our future home…
We’ve fantasised about switching this vibrant bubble for one more exotic like Hong Kong or KL, throwing ourselves completely out of our comfort zones for the sake of an adventure! On the flipside, we’ve also talked about turning our backs on the mayhem and opting for somewhere slightly more laid back but equally as enthralling like Lisbon or Porto, two cities we’ve already fallen head over heels for!
My daydream of immersing ourselves in Portuguese life, learning the language and as much about the culture as possible, really appeals to the romantic in me. We would live like locals: everyday speaking a little more like them, eating like them, and of course, cooking like them. And all the while, documenting the highs and the hiccups here of course, so you can all follow along the way.
One day, that daydream may become a reality. But while we get our act together, we can get our dose of the good life by popping over to Lisbon for the weekend, particularly now that Monarch have launched a new flight route taking off from Gatwick (and Manchester and Birmingham for those in that neck of the woods). To celebrate this new addition, Monarch invited some fellow food-obsessed travellers and I to a Portuguese cooking class at L’atelier des Chefs in Soho, and this is one of the fabulous dishes we whipped up…
Portuguese Pork & Clam Stew (Carne de Porco a Alentejana, recipe from L’atelier des Chefs)
- 300g pork tenderloin, chopped into 3-4cm pieces
- 600g clams, washed and drained
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 2 whole Piquillo peppers
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tin of whole plum tomatoes
- 200ml white wine
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to season
- fresh flat leaf parsley and coriander to garnish, chopped
To make the marinade, place the piquillo peppers, smoked paprika, lemon zest, half of the lemon juice and half of the garlic into a blender and puree until smooth.
Toss the pork pieces into the marinade and leave at room temperature for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
When you are ready to cook, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large thick based pot to a high temperature, add the meat and brown on all sides before transferring to a bowl. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pan.
Reduce the heat to low then add another tablespoon of olive oil, the onions and garlic to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the tomatoes and white wine and cook until it is reduced by half.
Add the meat back into the pan, cover, and cook for a further 15 minutes.
Stir the clams into the pan, cover, and cook for a further few minutes until the clams have opened – now you’re ready to dish up!
Season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with parsley and coriander, and serve with a side of salad and roasted potatoes. All you need to do now is pour yourself a lovely glass of Portuguese red wine and transport yourself to Portugal!
Have you ever moved to a foreign country just to learn the language and generally immerse yourself in that culture? Where did you go?
Thanks to Monarch Airlines, L’atelier des Chefs, and Talented Talkers for fueling my Portuguese daydreams… but as always, all opinions are mine, and mine alone!