Portugal is a small country, but it has multiple influences running through it. Centuries ago it was ruled by the Moors, and Arabic is written deep into its culture and cuisine. Then in the days of sailing ships, Portugal had an empire to rival the UK’s. At that time, the sun never set on the Portuguese empire, until Brazil gained its independence.
Today, I want to bring you flat bread (unleavened) from the Açores – Azores in English.
That slight difference in spelling leads to some confusion. I have heard one supposed expert in the Madeleine McCann case pronounce Gonçalo Amaral as though the ‘ç’ makes a sound like the ‘ch’ in church, chair or chip. It doesn’t.
In Portuguese, ‘c’ (without a cedilla) follows the same rules of pronunciation as ‘c’ in English. Putting a cedilla on it, ‘ç’, turns it into a sound much more like ‘s’ or ‘z’ in English. So it sounds like Gonsalo Amaral or Gonzalo Amaral.
And Açores becomes Azores.
Just as in every language, a family (familia) has lots and lots of words, far too many for micro-Portuguese. Apart from family (familia) there is mother, father (pai), daughter, son, grandma, grandpa, sister, brother, granddaughter, grandson, before we get onto in-laws, aunts, uncles and cousins.
So for micro-Portuguese I will stick with ‘o neto’ the grandson, and ‘a neta’ the granddaughter.
Things are not working as per plan. Tempestade Bruno is on its way in, so the opening of the vegetable patch of my neto has been delayed until the storm passes. That’s the minor irritation.
But my neta has travelled today to fly to Scotland. She is currently at Faro airport, waiting to board. We wanted to have a game of boule together before she left. That has been cancelled. I happen to be more worried about her flight. Looking at the weather forecast, Storm Bruno should be north of Lisbon, so the take-off should be OK, but I am not sure if the flight will be comfortable heading north into Tempestade Bruno.
RECIPE OF THE DAY
This is for a single portion of Açores flat bread (no yeast). If you still have a lot of left-overs it simply makes things a bit different. Bolo de sertã.
There are people who make sweet bolo de sertã, but this recipe is savoury.
The sertã is supposed to be a traditional earthenware dish, but a non-stick frying pan does the job. The key to this recipe is a mix of corn flour and standard flour.
1 cup corn flour. ½ cup all-purpose flour. 1 teaspoon salt. ¾ cup boiling water.
Put the corn flour and salt into a bowl. Mix in the boiling water bit by bit, stirring well. Set aside to rest for 20 minutes. Mix in the standard flour with a little (cold) water. Rest again for 10 minutes. Dust with flour and flatten to a disc shape. Without oil, place in a frying pan at low heat, and dry-fry for about 15 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and repeat. Serve hot.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
When my beloved leaves me to go back to the UK (which is frequently) I like to try an ‘around the world food tour’, taking an imaginary flight each day to a destination with quite a different cuisine and recipes. It may be childish, but I like food and I like cooking.
On this game, the Atlantic is always a very big hop on my journey. It was a bit of a game-stopper before, but now I have discovered the Açores.
Because here are the Azores.