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.


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