I’m sharing a bit of a 2 course menu today! Since I was asked by Jet2Holidays to create a recipe inspired by one of their popular destinations, I jumped at the chance to choose the Algarve to celebrate my Portuguese heritage. This was particularly fitting at this time since my father, who came to London from Madeira as a young lad, will be relocating to the mainland of his origin, Portugal in the next few weeks!
I was happy to be able to share the custard tarts with him and two of my sisters. My dad was impressed that they were a vegan version of such a heavily egg based recipe. They are of course not as egg-custard like but creamy and golden and all the subtle signature flavours are there.
The stew is an Algarvian version of the national traditional dish, Cozido à Portuguesa, the difference being that sweet potatoes are used in the Algarve.
The stew is usually heavy with a variety of meats and sausages plus vegetables, rice, and beans. Of course there is no meat here but vegan sausages marinated in a vibrant spice paste and an abundance of delicious vegetables and beans.
The carb loaded stew will certainly ease those cravings while also injecting a host of vibrant spices and nutritious vegetables. It is often served over slices of day old bread to soak up all the flavoursome juices but this is entirely optional.
The stew is full of goodness, per serving carried a whopping 20.2g of plant powered protein, Vitamin A 136% RDA, Vitamin C 95% RDA, Calcium 9% RDA, Iron 26% RDA, high in manganese, potassium and very high in vitamin B6.
Plus zero cholesterol and only 2.4g saturated fat (less if not using oil) which is just 12% of the recommended daily maximum.
Algarvian Rice & Sweet Potato Bean Stew (Cozido à Algarvia)
Ingredients: serves 6
Portuguese spice paste:
- 2 fat cloves of garlic
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)
- 1 tsp maple syrup or unrefined brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp saffron threads
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- optional: 1 red chilli (or to taste)
- 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
- 1 large baking potato, in chunks
- 1 large sweet potato, in chunks
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1.25 cups/250g raw basmati rice
- 6 vegan sausages, defrosted
- 1 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped, stalks included
- 1 can butter beans (or 1.5 cups cooked beans)
- 1 bunch of kale (or spinach or cabbage), roughly torn or chopped
- Bread to serve (optional)
- In a high speed blender, whizz together the paste ingredients until smooth, then divide in half.
- Rub one half of the marinade into the sausages and leave for as long as you can covered with cling film to infuse.
- When ready to cook, heat the oil if using (use a dash of water in a non-stick pan if not) in a large pot over a medium heat and add the remaining paste and mix until the spices are fragrant.
- Add the potatoes, carrots, rice and enough water to over by 2 inches, cover the pot and leave for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the marinated sausages and fry along with the remaining marinade in a teaspoon of olive oil or a dry non-stick frying pan until crispy and browned.
- After 15 minutes, add the sausage, drained beans, kale and half of the mint to the pot. Add more water if it seems too dry, then leave to simmer for a further 10-15 minutes, adding more water as necessary to maintain a moist stew.
- Add the remaining mint when serving and serve over slices of rustic bread for a traditional serve or simply ladle into bowls.
Custard Tarts (Pastéis de Nata)
Ingredients: Makes 12
- 1.5 cups unsweetened soya milk
- 2 tsp vegg baking mix (optional)
- 2 tbsp each potato starch and brown rice flour (or use 1/4 cup cornflour/starch instead)
- 1/3 cup unrefined brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp extract or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1 packet (approx 350g) of rolled puff pastry (ensure vegan friendly)
- 1/4 cup unrefined sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 200’c/400’f.
- Blend together the filling ingredients until smooth (milk through to lemon zest). Add to a saucepan and heat over a low-medium heat, stirring until thickened enough to separate when you drag the spoon through.
- Cut out circles of pastry to fit the holes of a muffin pan and press the pastry in each hole gently.
- Fill each hole about half full with the custard. The filling will bubble up in the oven coating the pastry shell so don’t overfill.
- Mix together the topping sugar and cinnamon then sprinkle a teaspoon over each tart.
- Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is crispy and golden and the custard with blackened spots.
- Remove from the pan when cool enough to handle. They are best eaten on the same day and whilst still warm.