Dourada on the BBQ

When we are staying at our villa in Portugal over the winter time the weather in the Algarve is warm and sunny in the day time and in the evenings, although the temperature drops to between 6 and 12 deg C its still warm enough to be outside in a fleece. A perfect climate to enjoy a BBQ at any time of day.

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I love to BBQ, I don’t need an excuse so at about 7.00pm I get started, it is so quiet only the hooting of owls disturbs the silence. The view to the coast has taken on a new dimension, a myriad of twinkling lights laid out like a carpet along the coast line, quite awesome! I fire up the BBQ with Charcoal, for me there is no other way,  charcoal adds greatly to the flavour of any meat or fish, propane just does not do it. A good friend of mine in Canada says that propane is better and that Charcoal is carcinogenic, I cannot agree, how can a man made refined oil product be better than a natural product? I asked him how would Jesus have cooked his fish, Charcoal or Propane, argument over! Seriously though the Mediterranean folks have been cooking over Charcoal since time immemorial  and still do, the majority of restaurants in Monchique, Algarve and Portugal are in fact Churrasqueiras (Barbecues, cooking over charcoal) and the Portuguese live to a ripe old age, they are not dropping like flies!

BBQ recipes are endless but on our Villa Vida Nova Blog I will from time to time write up which I think are best suited to Portuguese produce, the Algarvian Climate, the holiday mood and of course which ones I like!

The photos show Dourada, (one per person size), a local fish with white soft delicately flavoured flesh, found on all fish counters in Portugal. It will come cleaned for you, all you need to do is rinse the fish, cut 3 diagonal cuts through to the bone, (see top picture) rub some coarse sea salt into the cuts, a little ground white pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You will seen in the bottom two photos the fish are sandwiched in a cleaned hinged BBQ griddle, this simply makes turning the fish far easier without them falling apart. To clean the griddle let it burn in the hot coals for 5 minutes then brush it with a wire brush. Let it cool then brush the cleaned griddle with a little olive oil so that the fishes skin does not stick to it or you can brush the fish with olive oil, either way is good. Cook over medium coals for 5-10  minutes depending on heat and size of fish. Look into the cuts and you will see when the flesh is cooked through to the bone, don’t over cook, slightly underdone is better than overdone.

Read what Andrea Smith of Catavino has to say about Fish In Portugal

 

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Spicy Seafood Rice

Spain has Paella, Portugal has Arroz Marisco and Canada has Spicy Seafood Rice….well it does now! We love Seafood of all types and in the winter when in Portugal at our Algarve Villa we eat out at seafood restaurants, but also cook at home and I make my own version of Arroz Marisco even Paella but in Canada I resort to this dish and I think it’s my favourite.
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The photo is the same dish but this one has more Salmon and less shellfish, this is just before the rice is added.

Ingredients for two people:

  • 1 Cup of Basmati Rice
  • 2 Medium white onions finely chopped
  • Half a dozen cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup of finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup of finely chopped red pepper
  • Half cup of frozen garden peas
  • Cup of finely chopped mushrooms
  • 750 grams of Seafood
  • Half cup of olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons of Sambal Oelek
  • Sea salt

I have tried several types of chilli paste, Sambal Oelek has a distinct flavour that goes extremely well with Seafood.

The 750 Grams of seafood can be a mixture of any or all of the following, Salmon cut into 1″ cubes, frozen shelled prawns, squid, calamari, octopus, crab meat, clams, mussels, I usually buy a 3-400 gram frozen packet of mixed seafood and add our own prawns and salmon to make it up to 750gm. We use fresh caught wild salmon, we catch loads of the stuff in Canada and this is one way of using it up.

Let the frozen items defrost a couple of hours.

Start to cook the basmati rice in salted water until el dente

At the same time heat the olive oil in a large non stick wok or large frying pan, and fry off the, onion, garlic, peppers, peas and mushrooms for about 5-10 minutes turning constantly. Add more olive oil if it looks a bit dry and is not actually frying. Add the seafood and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, add the Sambal Oelek and cook five more minute continually turning the food. Again if it looks dry splash a bit more olive oil in. When the rice is done, strain and rinse with boiling water, drain very well and add it to the wok, turn the rice into the seafood mixture until all the white rice has been coated with the sauce. Season to taste if you like hot add more Sambal Oelek, or add more to taste when served.

Serve and enjoy. Goes well with dry or medium dry white wines and light beers.

The reason why we use so much salmon.

The Most Affordable Sunshine in Europe!

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

The vote for Brexit hit British travelers in the wallet, but trips to Portugal soften the blow. Yes, it takes the euro, but the country remains one of the most affordable destinations on the Continent, offering visitors the elegance of Western Europe at Eastern European prices. In fact, in its 2017 Holiday Money Report, the Post Office Travel Money declared The Algarve the cheapest of 44 European destinations. Families can find particular savings in the shoulder seasons, at October half term, for example, when family hotels still have great sports and kids’ clubs, but at lower prices than in the summer months. Why not check out our rates: Villas in Algarve for rent (rates)

Portugal is officially one of the sunniest countries in the world, and at the height of the summer visitors to the Algarve can expect temperatures of 28C and 11 hours of sunshine daily (and about one day per month of rain).

Even if you go for October half term, you are likely to find appealing weather: 22C, with seven hours of sun daily (which beats the 14C and three hours of sunshine you’ll find in Blighty at the same time of year).

May half term is an even better bet: the crowds are fewer, you can expect temperatures of around 25C, and 10 hours of sunshine each day, with little chance of rain. Check out  Algarve weather temperatures and rainfall statistics

Perfect BBQ Chicken Piri Piri

Whether you are at home or staying at our villa rental in Algarve you might want to try your hand at authentic Portuguese chicken Piri Piri.

First of all, if you don’t have a charcoal BBQ and charcoal then it simply will not turn out right nor taste the same.

Here is how we do it at Villa Vida Nova!

Buy the smallest and most tender chickens you can find and the more yellow the skin is the better. Dissect the chicken through the joints and cut the breast into manageable pieces, keep the skin and bone on but cut off any excess fat and discard. You can just buy drums and thighs if you like the dark meat, IMO they taste better than breast anyway.

There are many Piri Piri sauces in the local supermarket in Monchique, buy one and pour it over the chicken. You can add some fresh Piri Piri seeds from the garden if they are ready, be careful, don’t touch your eyes or anything sensitive after handling them! Add a handful of coarse salt, a shot or two of whiskey, half the juice of a lemon from the garden and leave for 24 hours in the fridge, turning the pieces over several times so that they get a good coating all over.

Chicken needs 40-45 minutes on the BBQ to make sure it is cooked through and not pink on the bone. So for this a supermarket bag of charcoal is not going to do it, 2 maybe but you don’t want to run out, so buy a big sackful from the vegetable shop with the plastic donkey on the Alferce road about 1/3 of a mile from the Intermarche on the left. A big sack is about 10-12 Euros whereas the Intermarche bags are about 5 Euros for about 1/6th of the quantity. You will then have plenty for several BBQs and what is left over the next guests will appreciate. Don’t skimp on the charcoal.

Use plenty of charcoal in the BBQ with a couple of fire lighters get it going and put the griddle in as low as possible so any fat on it burns off. Use the wire brush to give it a good clean, turn it over and do the other side. After about 20 minutes it should be ready but still too hot, level out the hot coals and damp it down by splashing cold water from a plastic drinking bottle. Keep that full and handy.

Put the chicken on the griddle the thickest pieces in the middle at the back and the thinnest and smallest pieces at the front and place at the highest level, make a note of the time and observe the underneath of the chicken. Don’t walk away from the BBQ you will need a helper to top up your beer or wine and your handy water bottle! Keep damping the coals if the chicken is cooking too quickly, the damping is to make the cooking period last the full 45 minutes. Keep turning the chicken every 3-5 minutes, it must not burn.

As the charcoal burns away keep pushing it to the back and add more charcoal at the front which in turn will be pushed back and more added at the front to replace it. After about 25-30 minutes you should be able to move the griddle down a notch or two, keep adding charcoal as required and or water to dampen, keep turning, it should not be burnt but the skin should be turning crispy and brown and the skin on the drumsticks should be pulling upwards from the end.

That’s about it, after 40-45 minutes it should be perfectly done. Enjoy!

Portugal Property Market Report

Record year for Portuguese housing market on the cards

The current year is set to finish with more than 20 billion euros changing hands in real estate transactions across the country.

Record year for Portuguese housing market on the cards

 

The news of the continued growth in the Portuguese property market was revealed this week by the National Real Estate Agents’ Association (APEMIP).
The association said that with this projected growth, the property market will have expanded by 20 percent on last year’s figures.
APEMIP further forecast that this growth will continue for at least the coming two years. It said that the real estate market has received a decisive push through foreign investment, but said that continued growth is now also being supported by the domestic market, with investors cashing in on their bank deposits to invest in the buy-to-let market.
Meanwhile, new figures have show that the building industry has registered growth of over 40 percent.
According to the Pipeline Imobiliário Index, the number of building licences issued between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2017 has climbed by 42.7 in mainland Portugal.
The issuing of licences to renovate or rebuild old homes performed particularly strongly, with an increase of just over 68 percent for the period in question.
Meanwhile, official figures out earlier this autumn indicated that the national housing price index has seen property prices rise by eight percent during the second quarter of the year when compared with the same period in 2016. House prices also rose on the first quarter of 2017, with the cost of housing up 3.2 percent.
Figures published by Portugal Statistics (INE) further revealed that new properties continued to report growth, while used properties, while still recording strong increases, slowed during the second quarter of the year.
The INE said that a total of just under 37,000 properties were sold between April and June, which is up 16.1 percent on 2016 and almost five percent above the number registered between January and March this year.
The total value of real estate sold during the second quarter was up 23.3 percent on last year, totaling 4.6 billion euros, of which 3.7 billion euros accounted for used homes.

If this does not tempt you, not sure what will! We invested in Portugal and have seen the value of our property increase two fold in the last 12 years, what’s more it serves us as an escape from Canadian winters and gives a great return on investment in the summer months because we rent it out. Have a look at our site Villas in Portugal with Pool for Rent.

Portugal Named World’s Best Golf Destination!

Portugal has been named the World’s Best Golf Destination. The top award was handed out at the 2017 World Golf Awards held at the La Manga Club in Spain. Portugal also won the Best New Golf Course, by West Cliffs Golf Links, Lisbon.

Portugal currently welcomes 420 000 golfers to its 90 courses every year, with 82% of all rounds being played by foreign tourists.Golf 3

Voting for the 2017 awards closed at the end of September 2017 with a record number of ballots cast by leading golf industry tourism professionals. Theses were tallied alongside the votes of hundreds of thousands of golf consumers around the world.

Morgado do Reguengo is just one new golf course 15 minutes drive from our Villa for Rent in Algarve, Actually the villa is within an hours drive of almost 40 golf courses, so if an ideal base if you are a golfer!

Portugal is the Worlds 3rd Safest Country

Portugal is becoming one of the most desirable countries in which to have a vacation, safety plays an important role in most holiday makers choice of destination.

The Global Peace Index ranking at the start of autumn 2017 rates Portugal as the third safest country in the world, climbing up from it’s position of 5th in 2016. The Global Peace Index ranks 163 countries according to their domestic and international conflicts, safety and security and degree of militarisation. The most peaceful country in the world is currently Iceland followed by New Zealand and then Portugal. General crime in Portugal has dropped by 21 percent during the last 10 years while serious crimes are down 32 percent. West coast 1

Portugal has meanwhile also been rated as one of the top three expat destinations in the world when it comes to the general living experience in the country. (Yougov HSBC Expat, The News)

Come and see for yourself, you will not be disappointed and if you are looking for the perfect place to stay then look no further Villa Rental Algarve