sexta-feira, 20 de maio de 2011

Exotic Lemon
This is the 3rd year in a row we’re lucky to enjoy the generosity of the lemon tree.
Every year we’re surprised with beautiful and juicy lemons and our biggest concern is to make good use of these gorgeous fruits!
Besides sharing with friends and family, preserving is the best alternative. The sweet version: Lemon Curd. The salty version: Lemon preserve, Moroccan style.
Here are the recipes:
Lemon curd
This recipe was given to my mother from her good friend Ana Paula and it’s very easy to make. I use it with toasted bread or to pair with cakes.
But other great idea is to use it as a filling of pre-baked sweet mini-tartlets shells to serve with coffee or tea!
6 eggs
500g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter
Juice of 3 lemons
Zest of 2 lemons
Beat the eggs and mix with the other ingredients in a stainless steel pan.
Keep a low heat in the stove and stir all the time. After a while, butter melts and the mixture gets thicker. When it reaches honey consistency, it is ready to pour into previously sterilized glass jars.
Lemon preserve - Moroccan style
It’s perfect in stews or tagine dishes. I’ve tried with roasted rabbit and it was an amazing combination, boosting with fragrant lemony flavor!
It’s very easy to prepare but requires patience hence it has to be forgotten for a few months in the pantry before use. But it pays back once you put a peace in your mouth and the strong lemony fragrance invades your palate.
Sea salt
From Rui Simeão. This family production started over 100 years ago and uses artisanal technics to produce one of the world’s best salts.
Prefer organic lemons to guarantee they’re not treated.
Glass jars with hermetic closure
It’s important to sterilize the jars to avoid any sort of contamination (I wash it in hot water and soap and dry in the oven for 20 min at 110 ºC).

Wash the lemons in hot water and cut into quarters.
Fill the jar with a layer of salt. Then start layering the lemon alternating with salt. Make sure to push down to compress the lemons and release the juice. The lemons must be submerged in juice and topped with salt.
Monitor the jars for a few days before storing thus the lemons tend to collapse and often is need to refill with more salt or lemon juice. When the lemons are tight inside the jar is time to store for, at least, 3 weeks.
Use it wisely:
The first time I tried cooking preserved lemons, was a total failure hence I used the lemons directly from the jar!  I got a salt kick that my heart almost jumped out of my body.
Only the skin is used. After rinsing the excess of salt syrup, peel the rind off to add to any recipe you choose.

segunda-feira, 16 de maio de 2011

New dates at Hush-Hush Garden!
At first we thought a dinner party a month would be enough. But as the warmness of the last nights conquered us, we decide to open Hush-Hush Garden at least twice a month!

So join us under the moonlight and the stars. Next dinner party: 4th June.

sexta-feira, 13 de maio de 2011

This time the menu was inspired on recent Easter and upcoming Spring. Fresh vegetables and flowers had to be present to recreate the season. So we came up with a fresh artichoke salad with Azores cheese thin slices and organic bacon from Freixo do Meio, sprinkled with fresh celery and mint from the garden and seasoned with olive oil, lemon (just picked from the tree), sea salt and some roasted almonds and pistachios on top.

The evening was inviting and drinks were served outside with a trio of dipping sauces.
The table reached its limit– 12 guests and 3 hosts as we deliberately choose to seat with our guests to enjoy and participate in these truly magic moments that happen when a group of people share good food, good wine and great conversation!
The artichoke salad was followed by a home-made duck liver pâté bonbon, covered with Green&Black's Trinitario chocolate, sea salt and Hush-hush garden’s tangerine marmalade which grabbed an echoing applause! Fantastic!
A frugal fresh coriander soup shot prepared the palate to the “Easter Rabbit” with herbs and Hush-hush garden’s lemon preserve sided by baked sweet potatoes from Algezur and sautés Swiss chards.

Casa da Carvalha 2008 was a perfect companion.

To reset the palate, rose petals jelly before a slice of moist carob cake sided by a dollop of Hush-hush garden’s lemon curd.
We drank Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal 2004 with the desserts. Great combination!
Almond pie cubes (Rita’s grandmother’s recipe) disappeared in a blink, just before coffee and Hush-hush garden’s lemon verbena tea were served. Huge success!
 The guests, as always, were fantastic. Jane is British and decided to celebrate her birthday with us (Thank you Jane!) and she brought a Mexican friend, a Canadian friend and her boy-friend. Also her mom Jo and her husband John.

Renata , her husband Severino, Laura and Guido came from Italy for a vacation in Lisbon and included a visit to our supper club.

Iris and Vitor are starting their own supper club and came in a 007 mission! Once again, due to the generosity of our guests we experienced a wonderful evening!

terça-feira, 3 de maio de 2011


7th May 2011

To Start

Porto Tonic

Tapenade, Beetroot hummus & Guacamole trio

Mafra bread

To Continue

Artichoke salad

Duck liver pâté bonbon with tangerine jam

Fresh coriander soup shot

Roasted rabbit with herbs and preserved lemon with roasted sweet potato from Aljezur & sauté chards

To Drink

Red wine: Casa da Carvalha, 2008, Dão

Dessert wine: Moscatel de Setúbal, Venâncio da Costa Lima

To Finish

Rose jelly

Carob cake with lemon curd

Coffee and Hush- Hush Garden’s tea and

Almond pie cubes