Category Archives: Portuguese

Hey Girl.

Dear readers, let me tell you a story. During my early childhood I never knew what the typical parent was. In fact I’m pretty sure I had no idea of the concept, because you see when I was only a few months old, my parents who’d only recently moved to this country were struggling to keep afloat. It’s a story that many of you with ethnic upbringings or those surrounded by people of ethnic backgrounds may be familiar with, and in the 80’s it was especially tough for a young migrant couple with a newborn child. Because of this my parents made the decision to send me back to Indonesia where I would live with my aunty and cousins for the next few years while my parents tried to build a life here.

My memories of growing up in Indonesia are quite sketchy these days, in fact the only vivid ones I have include that time I went into an open sewer to rescue the family cat (see, I don’t hate cats…), and also the time I saw my first ever sex scene on TV only to have the maid cover my eyes. What I do remember however, is that I was quite close with my cousins, and seeing how there was a 10 year gap to the next youngest one I was always quite in awe of them. I still remember seeing one of my cousins lighting a cigarette and thinking it was the coolest thing ever.

I came back to Sydney when I was 5 and it was strange. Strange to meet these people calling themselves Mum and Dad. Strange to be sleeping in my own bedroom. Strange that I had to say goodbye to my aunty who was the closest person in my life for what I thought was only going to be a week but indeed turned out to be indefinite.

Fast forward a few years to a only a couple of months ago and that same cousin who’d I thought was so cool for lighting up that cigarette in a South-East Asian James Dean kind of way came to visit, and to celebrate we had a gathering where I was of course in charge of the food. Not realising that in the 25 years since I had last seen him that he’d converted to Islam I, feeling in a very porky mood went on a spree of ordering anything with bacon, ham and chorizo. Of course when I did find out, I told him he was simply eating baby cow. Or was it lamb? Smoking, pork… makes us even right?

A few nights ago I was feeling a porky mood again and knowing that my Portuguese mate who you may remember from this post, had just received his permanent rodency, I decided to make some Portuguese Caldo Verde soup, as an ode to him, my cousin and my parents.

Ingredients (Serves 4, or a very hungry 1)

caldo verde-ingredientsThis picture is kind of disturbing. Hehehe.

  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 1 bunch kale (or if you can’t find any, Chinese broccoli)
  • 1 chourico (or if you can’t find any, chorizo – notice a theme here?)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 cups of water or stock


caldo verde-method

    • Peel your potatoes and roughly chop them up into cubes, or whatever shape you’re feeling for. While you’re at the chopping board get your kale/ Chinese broccoli and roll the leaves up like a cigar then finely slice them. Seeing as you’re still at the chopping board, get your garlic and again, finely slice.
    • Now, chourico is pretty hard to find and unless you know a good Portuguese butcher then you can just substitute it with chorizo. It’s a fine substitute. Get your sausage and slice it.
    • Now you’ve done all your prep get a medium sized saucepan and heat up with a little oil. Drop your chorizo in and fry it off to your liking. I like mine with charred edges. Once that’s done take the chorizo out and set it aside on some paper towels. You’ll notice that you have a nice amount of chorizo fat at the bottom of the pan. If you’re a little conscious about your weight then remove some of it, as you know what they say, ‘a moment on your lips, forever on your hips’. I on the other hand have big hips so I choose to leave the oil in.
    • With your reserved pork fat, lightly fry the garlic and once you have some nice colour add in the potatoes. I toss everything around so it’s all nicely coated. By now your kitchen should smell of garlic and pork. Awesome.
    • Now fill your pan with the water/ stock and bring to the boil. Once there, keep on simmering until the potatoes are soft and creamy. You could leave your soup as is from here, but I like to get my stick mixer out and blitz away until left with a nice thin and creamy consistency.

caldo verde-soupmix

  • Once you’ve done that bring it back to the boil and throw the chourico/ chorizo back in then throw in the kale/ Chinese broccoli, letting it simmer away for a further 5 minutes.
  •  From here Ladle a few spoonfuls into a bowl, crack open a bottle of red, pour yourself a glass or 3, put on the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother you’ve just finished downloading, take a photo for Instagram and wait for the comments and likes to come in.

caldo verde-finishedBin Ends – Because ‘all ends, start with a beginning’



Filed under Cooking, Portuguese

Bartino Portuguese Tapas & Bar

Before you continue I just want to say sorry for the poor photo quality, i only had an iphone with me at the time… buts its ok i know you come here for my wit more then my photography skill (or lack thereof).

So I have this mate whose Portuguese. He’s a very funny guy and a hoot to be around however, he does has a very latin temperament. He’s a very passionate guy and you can tell he has a real verve for life, but that same passion can sometimes see him becoming extremely outraged over the smallest things. Because of this he also tends to make some wild claims, whether it be about the state of people’s minds (he once claimed that someone who had given him less shifts then the usual at a bar he was working at had a ‘sick revenge mind!’), anything to do with Brazil, or how everything great in the world comes from Portugal (except for Oporto and peri peri sauce – this apparently is offensive to Portugal and no one eats chilli at all in Portugal). The latter is relative to this post as according to him some of the culinary traditions we associate with Spain (tapas, sangria, paella) are actually from Portugal. I don’t know how much truth there is in any of this but when I did some research on paella all of it pointed to its origins being in Valencia…. Not just any part of Spain… Valencia.

So this is how I found myself with 2 other diners at Bartino in Pyrmont on a cold and windy Saturday night. When I saw the words Portuguese Tapas and Bar I knew I we had to eat there to see if there was any substance to the claims.

Walking inside we’re greeted with dark timbers, soft yellow lighting, an old and jovial Portuguese fellow and thankfully the last free table. After a quick glance at the menu I already know what I want.

cod frittersPastaes de Bacalhau (served individually) – $4.00

We start off with a round of different tapas items. The cod fritters are light and fluffy with a nice crispy coating, while the saltiness of the fish isn’t overpowering. A spritz of lemon makes it all the better.

The chourico (sorry no photo was taken, but I can tell you its $12) is as good as expected, but then again when are cured meats ever bad? I don’t know if it’s because I’d already knocked back a few drinks but these are especially good. Sliced thinly they have a nice crispy char on the ends.   

garlic mushroomsCogumelos à Portuguesa – $13

The mushrooms are a favourite with the table. There’s nothing standout about the mushrooms themselves, in fact they look like simple button mushrooms that have been quartered, but the sauce is amazing. Garlicy, creamy, so full of flavoury. We find ourselves spooning the sauce on the other dishes and licking the sauce off our plates (ok so maybe that was only me).

paellaPaella – $49

And for the main act we chose the Paella. You knew where this was going. The menu states it’s for two, but I seriously think it would’ve been enough for four so long as you got your fill of tapas and so on. From the moment it landed on our table I knew it was going to be different. It had a light yellow tinge as opposed to the robust earthy ones you see when dining Spanish; it came in a flat ceramic pot as opposed to the Paella pan, and there wasn’t any sight of Chorizo. And what a paella it was, full of mussels, prawns, pipis and calamari, it was light, it was fresh and it was zingy. The juices all combined to make an almost creamy texture to the rice and we found ourselves going back for more even after the top jean buttons were already undone.

So I’m no closer to understanding if there’s any truths to my mates claims, but when the food is good who really cares? Maybe it’s because of people like my mate who like to make wild claims that we’re able to get great food as people strive for the best in order to justify them, and at the end of the day who can argue with that? Maybe only someone with a sick revenge mind.

Bartino Portuguese Tapas & Bar

9 Union Street, Pyrmont
(02) 9518 8000


Filed under Portuguese