ATP – 7 Dec 17 – IURD


The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) is being investigated for alleged illegal trafficking of children in the 90s.

The IURD operated a care home in Lisbon, and welcomed young children who were placed there after being separated from their mothers by social services.

The children were then adopted and many were relocated abroad. The most popular destinations were Brazil and the US.

The article is not clear about the order i.e. were they adopted in Portugal under Portuguese law, or were they somehow shifted overseas and adopted abroad.

I’ll keep my eye open for developments on this story.

I have no reason to believe this is directly linked to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. I do think it illustrates some of the culture of Portugal in the years preceding Madeleine’s disappearance.


There is no word for ‘it’ in Portuguese. Everything in English covered by ‘it’ is covered in Portuguese by ‘he’ or ‘she’, or a variant thereof. That means such words are very common. A casa = a house, o carro = a car, o colar = a necklace, a pérola = a pearl.

Variants include o, a, os, as, do, da, dos, das, and many others.

Automatic language translators find it hard to track gender, because you have to remember whether you are talking about a he, a she, or an it. Humans find this easy.

Congratulations! You are already able to debug automatic translations to work out what is really going on.


This one is easy, but it has many optional alternatives. Ana’s chocolate dipped orange.

Storm Ana passed through Portugal last night and caused a lot of damage, mainly further north but we do have fallen trees here in the Algarve. One of the things storm Ana did was to bring down another one of our oranges (just one), and I’m running out of ideas as to what you can do with dozens of oranges around Natal.

Years and years ago I remembered seeing chocolate dipped strawberries in a confectionery window in Boston, Massachusetts. Delicious. So I decided as Ana had made this small offering, I might as well find out how to make Ana’s chocolate dipped orange.

There are recipes for this everywhere, but the basics are ever so simple. Take one orange. Slice it into discs, leaving the peel on, but removing any pips. Then microwave the chocolate, in short bursts, to prevent it burning. I happen to prefer dark chocolate, but you choose. Dip the orange into the melted chocolate, half-covering the slice. Put it on baking paper, and pop it into the fridge for 5-10 minutes. That’s all there is!

Now come the options!

You can use dried orange, mandarins, or glacéed oranges (baked in a light sugar coating).

You can use segments. You can use strips (like chips). I prefer to cut each orange disc in half, to give two half-moon shapes, because it looks ‘posher’.

You can add a little sea-salt, either to the chocolate mix or sprinkled on at the end. You can grate a little coconut over it. Ana’s chocolate dipped orange caters to all tastes!


I know that much of Europe has struggled with really rough weather. Cancelled flights. Snowploughs. Most of this has passed us by in the Algarve, though we do have some trees down. Storm Ana has gone. Tonight we are due to get another storm, which by convention is masculine, and starts with the letter B, though I can’t remember its name.

But I wanted to bring you a current photo of what Ana did in Lisbon. There are two people in Lisbon whom I regard as 2 of the top 6 experts on the Madeleine McCann case, and when the festive season is over I will return to that duo. For the moment, I just wanted to bring you a simple story.

Here on the Algarve we simply suffered a few trees down. Our driveway gate needs to be fixed. Ana gifted me a single orange. You were gifted Ana’s chocolate dipped orange.

Here is what Ana did in Lisbon.


ATP – 6 Dec 17 – the local baker

Today’s theme is local life, so I want to post about the local baker. That is going to be a challenge, because there isn’t one any more.


The word for ‘the’ in Portuguese illustrates the way the Portuguese language works.

‘The’ in basic terms is ‘o’ for masculine words and ‘a’ for feminine words.

Then it get more complex. First you have to know about plurals, when ‘o’ and ‘a’ match up by tacking an ‘s’ on the end to become ‘os’ and ‘as’. The nearest I can think of in English is ‘them’, though ‘os’ and ‘as’ simply mean ‘the’.

I have already covered that ‘the’ can combine with ‘de’ to make do, da, dos, das (‘of the’ or ‘from the’), but ‘o’ and ‘a’ do much more besides.

This is far too complicated for micro-Portuguese. All you need is that ‘o’ and ‘a’ in Portuguese mean ‘the’.


The one that I have picked today is rated as difficult, takes 120mins, and feeds six. But I am going to give you a much simplified version, taking much less time, and scaled down to a single portion.

The reason for picking this is I’ve only just found out we live on what was once the main street of the village. There is or was a post office, long since closed and now in decay. There was a lavandaria, a washing-house, now done up as a nice Portuguese cottage. In between these two was a padaria, a baker’s shop. I have only just found out it was a padaria. This is in the process of being converted into a 2.5 bedroom home, plus an annexe.

When I arrived here I was ill, for 50 days non-stop. That is a shame because I wish I had taken photos of the padaria on my arrival. It is now quite a long way through the restoration process, so it is hardly recognisable any more.

But just as we have been told we cannot put any structure whatsoever into our massive garden, there is also a restriction on the padaria. It is not permitted to remove the baker’s oven. I have had a tour round the outside, never saw an oven, and never twigged it was once the local bakery.

This brings me to today’s recipe, which is fresh bread, fish (cod), kale, tomatoes and spring greens.

The way it is made properly involves scooping the centre out of a Grandma’s loaf. That is one of the easier steps, so just stick to the basics. Defrost some frozen bacalhau (cod), retaining the liquor. The tomatoes should be peeled and deseeded. You may want all the usual suspects, like garlic, but this one also has ginger and paprika! The mix is meant to be cooked with the hollowed out bread, the fish stock and cod, the tomatoes and the greens. Simply fry the cod, greens and tomatoes, and add the stock and reserved bread and simmer gently, then serve with fresh bread.


My little neck of the woods just got a lot more interesting when I realised we live on what was once the village high street. That is two large café/bars, one post office, one washing-house, and one baker’s. Here is the work-in-progress on the baker’s. I watched them refurb the roof. I saw them replace the antique windows with double glazing. But this photo interests me.

Two men dug up the local manhole. Then they put new cement everywhere, to fix it. Then the câmara was called, and a big truck turned up. I think they were flushing the excess concrete out of the drainage system. The two guys in the background appear to be digging a new drain from the bakery to the repaired manhole cover.

ATP- 5 Dec 17 – Supermoon

3 Dec 17 was a Supermoon, aka a Hunters’ Moon and a Beaver Moon. Allegedly because under such moons hunters would set traps for beavers. This sound highly unlikely, as Supermoons are rare, but it is a nice story. More on Supermoons later.


De (pronounced day) means ‘of’ or ‘from’.

It combines with other words to make do, da, dos, das, which all mean ‘of the’ or ‘from the’, but don’t worry about those for micro-Portuguese.

De is extremely common in Portuguese, because Portuguese does not have an apostrophe (‘). English uses an ‘ as a shortcut all the time – John’s book, Maria’s baby, Bert’s café. Portuguese has no ‘, so it has to use the word ‘of’ very frequently – book of John, baby of Maria, café of Bert.

The layer on top of this is ‘from’. Where are you from? I’m from Portelas.

So you see ‘de’ meaning ‘of’ or ‘from’ is one of the most common words in Portuguese.


Portuguese Christmas tree.

Take 2 pancakes (tortillas). Spread one with pesto, then sprinkle grated cheese on top. Plonk the other tortilla on top to seal the filling. Then cut out a tree shape, and a star or two. Discard the excess.

Next, slit the branches on either side, but leave the trunk intact. Then curl each branch to make it look festive. Brush the tree and star with egg, and bake it in the oven at 190°C for 10 to 12 minutes, until it is golden.

Decorate with a few cherry tomato halves for red, and a sprig or two of basil for the green.


It was a Supermoon on 3 Dec 2017. That is a combination of a full moon, and the time at which the moon is closest to the Earth, so it looks larger than normal. It seems we will get another Supermoon in a month from now, and that is going to be it for decades. It will not return for years on end.

Here is my photo of the Supermoon rising near Portelas.

If you are unimpressed by this , so am I. The night sky here is wonderfully clear. What is your sign of the Zodiac? I am Aquarius, and I hope over the coming year to get a decent view of all of the constellations. My current camera skills are just not up to this challenge, so I need to find a way of doing better. In 2018, I want to bring you every sign of the Zodiac.

ATP – 4 Dec 17 – obrigado!

I chanced across today’s photo of the day, and it brought back fond memories, so obrigado!


The word for ‘thank you’ in Portuguese is obrigado, if YOU THE SPEAKER are a man, and it is obrigada, if YOU THE SPEAKER are a woman. It matches who is saying it, not the person to whom it is said.

Obrigado = oh-bree-gah-doo. Obrigada = oh-bree-gah-da. Just learn one – you don’t need the other one.

Apart from olá, this is possibly the shortest conversation you can have with a Portuguese person.

When I lived in Olhão (the other side of Faro, and authentic Portuguese), there the supermarket checkout girls would barrel away in Portuguese as if I was a native, even though I am clearly not. I didn’t understand a word of it, but I liked it because it was very cheery and friendly. A really nice touch of Portugal.

Then we moved to Luz, an artificial ex-pat enclave and everything changed. In the supermarkets (Baptista and Spar, I don’t know about the others) it was as if the checkout ladies were being forced to work against their will. They worked hard and fast, but cheery conversation was a no-go.

About the maximum I managed to extract from them was that if I said ‘thank you’ in Portuguese, they were obliged to say obrigada in return.

Obrigado and obrigada are past participles (forget that, you don’t need it for micro-Portuguese) of the verb obrigar = to be obliged. Obliged and obligated might be old-fashioned English now, but hopefully the connection is a little clearer.

Here in Portugal we do not say ‘thank you’, we say ‘obliged’.


Trifle of red fruits

This is a prep-before recipe, so it is great for entertaining. Stack it up in advance.

Make up a pack of strawberry jelly, and put it into glasses Put in some frozen red fruits, keeping a few more de-freezing for a garnish. Put the glasses into the fridge for an hour, to set the jelly. Take them out and ayer on Greek yoghurt, and the reserved red fruit, a little crushed digestive biscuit, and a sprig of mint.

If you are not calorie-watching, replace the Greek yoghurt with whipped cream.


This one brought back memories of the Christmas I spent in Olhão. When you entered the supermarket, there were volunteers asking if you would donate food to those who were going to have a much sparser Christmas than yours.

The request was not for luxury items. It was for the basics in dried, canned and bottled form, so the goods would keep until the volunteers could get them out to the needy. Rice, bottled Portuguese beans, tinned tomato. When we moved to Luz, I never saw that in the local supermarkets, but maybe I just missed it.

This is by Banco Alimentar (food bank). It is largely voluntary, but it takes monetary donations as well as goods. I am not a fan of monetary donations, because I know Banco Alimentar has its headquarters in Lisbon, and Lisbon is not free or cheap. The idea of goods appeals much more to me, because there are only so many packets of rice someone can filter out of the system!

Now, can you remember today’s micro-Portuguese? It’s in the photo!


ATP- 3 Dec 2017 – doner kebab to be banned

News today. It seems the European Union will soon vote to ban the doner kebab, on the basis that the lamb meat contains too high a level of phosphates. I eat a doner kebab perhaps once every 5 years, so why someone wants to regulate my phosphate levels by law eludes me.


The word ‘feliz’ means happy or lucky. So Feliz Natal means Merry Christmas. Easy!


Tagliatelle with chestnuts and bacon. This is also easy. You need two pots, one to boil the tagliatelle, and one to fry the chestnuts and bacon.

Peel and chop the chestnuts. Dice the bacon. Chop up a little bit of celery and onion. If you want it Portuguese, put in a small amount of finely chopped garlic. OK. Heat olive oil in the frying pan, and throw everything in. It’s a quick fry, so make sure your tagliatelle is nearly cooked, because it it going into the same pan as the chestnuts and bacon for some flavour. The leaves from a sprig of rosemary add a delightful garnish.


This is a Hunters’ Moon. The moon does not go around the Earth in a circle. Sometimes it gets far away, and sometimes, like now, it gets very close. A combination of a full moon plus very close is rare. We had one tonight. There will be another one a month from now. The one after that is decades into the future.

This is the Hunters’ Moon, rising today just east of Portelas. It appears to be larger than usual, but because my little camera does not do eye-quality photographs, this is the best I could do.

ATP – 2 Dec 2017 – alerta frio

For the 2nd Dec 2017, on All Things Portugal there are 3 treats.


Christmas in Portuguese is Natal. This is easy. The UK has the Nativity, and neonatal units. It simply relates to a birth.


Gaspacho is is soup that is normally eaten cold on days which are hot. In winter time, I prefer to warm it up.

Gaspacho out here is everywhere, in all the supermarkets. There are expensive versions, but I prefer the one from supermarket Pingo Doce (roughly translated as sweet-sweet). It is inexpensive, and it contains tomatoes, peppers (non-spicy type), onion, oil, wine vinegar, salt and garlic.

Note it contains no added sugar. I gave up on UK tomato soups because they all seem to add sugar. Tomato is actually a fruit, and it needs no added sugar.

The supermarket versions are blended, so I like to add a small amount of finely chopped vegetables, to give some crunch to the texture. Green pepper, onion, cucumber and celery, but most vegetables work if you dice them finely enough. Add a very small amount of olive oil and some freshly ground pepper.


I have never seen it snow in my time in the Algarve. I have seen hailstones twice. Just as the rain here never drizzles, it only comes down in torrents, the hailstones came down in storms.

We have pleasant sunny weather again, warm enough for sunbathing. But there is a report out that it may drop to freezing overnight in the north of Portugal, around Bragança and Leiria, so I thought I would leave you with a photo of what the hardy inhabitants of Portugal look like when it turns a bit chilly.

Alerta frio!

ATP – 1 Dec 2017 – olá!

Here is All Things Portugal for 1st Dec 2017.


The Portuguese for hello! is olá. Like other languages, Portuguese has terms for good morning, good afternoon and good evening, but I’m trying to give you as few words as you need to survive with Micro-Portuguese. Olá can be used for hi! at any time of the day.

The accent in olá happens to be an acute accent (you don’t need to know that), and 9 times out of 10 it is used to tell you which bit to stress (that comes in jolly useful!).

Olá is pronounced oh-la.

Saying ‘olá’ will get you a response from even the toughest Portuguese peasants who do not understand English.


Bifanas can be made out of beef, chicken or pork, but most of time in the Algarve, they are pork. Here the pork is tasty and very cheap.

A bifana is nothing more than very thinly sliced, fried pork, put into a fresh Portuguese roll. There is no buttering of the roll. Add condiments of your choice.

I have looked online for bifana recipes, and it made me laugh. English ‘experts’ seem to think a bifana is complex, stuffed with tens of ingredients, and take over an hour to make. The truth is bifana is a staple in Portuguese cafés, and trust me, they are simple, inexpensive, and quick. This is fast food Portuguese style. You can even get a bifana in McDonald’s here.

Portuguese bread is made with hard wheat. UK bread is made with soft wheat. It makes a big difference to the taste, but don’t worry about it. If UK bread is what you like, go for it. A nice roll, lightly fried thin pork slice, perhaps with some mustard or spicy sauce to complement the bifana.

As it happened, I marinated ours in a little white wine (to tenderise the pork) plus a sprinkling of garlic, just for a few minutes. I rate my effort about a 6 out of 10 – I must try harder.


This this the Estádio do Dragão – the Stadium of the Dragon.

It is the home to FC Porto, and tonight they are taking on four times champions Benfica. It is one of two matches today to decide which football team has a Merry Christmas, and which does not.

Welcome to All Things Portugal!