Wednesday, 31 March 2010

EASTER! (Páscoa) - Portugal Traditions

EASTER (Páscoa)
Easter is the annual party celebrated by the Jews in memory of the exit from Egipto. The religion prescribes that, for a week from 14 to 21 of the month of Nissan (begining of Spring) the followers should refrain from any fermented food (alcohol, cereals, dry vegetables, etc.); on Easter day, the meal includes roasted lamb immolated according to the Jewish uses.
This party is also celebrated by the Christian religion, that on that day celebrates Jesus Christ's Resurrection. Easter day on the first Sunday after the first moon that followes to the equinox of the Spring, relapses between 22 of March and April 22. It is the time of the full renewal of Nature and as Easter it happens naturally to the abstinence of the Lent, numerous culinary traditions mark that party.
On the whole side, hard eggs, natural or coloured are typical. The habit of offering coloured eggs or decorations starts in Portugal, in the XVth century . The Easter omelette done with eggs «Requests» or put on Holy Friday, is garnished with bacon or similar to well mark the end of this period.
Traditionally, on Easter Sunday, we have a meat plate: generally kid goat or lamb, but a lot of times also Pig (roasted pig or ham). In some areas they includes in Easter menu a stuffed pie of several meats and eggs. The bread that was eaten on Easter Sunday was whiter than the bread homemade and a goody was considered.
The desserts of Easter time show an entire variety of special sweet ; the form of baskets with painted eggs of several colours, crowns with eggs, brioches and pies but above all the chocolate eggs and the almonds are the most representative.
Kid goat or sheep roasted (Cabrito ou borrego assado no forno)
1 kid goat of medium size
125 butter gr or margarine
100 bacon gr
4 onions
4 cloves of garlic
2 parrot leaves
1 parsley branch
2,5 dl of white wine
1 colorau teaspoon
500 gr of potatoes
Sal and pepper

Prick 2 onions, the cloves of garlic and the bacon finely. Join them 50 margarine gr and colorau and 1 dl of white wine and season with thick salt and pepper.
Obtain the kid goat and clay it with the prepared.
Dispose in the fund of recipient to roast the remaining onions cut in slices. On these it places the kid goat, join a parsley branch and the parrot and let to be like this 24 hours, in fresh place.
The following day waters the kid goat with the remaining white wine and to the turn it disposes the potatoes cut at rooms. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread the remaining margarine cut in mouthfuls on the kid goat and the potatoes and take to roast in the oven, watering once in a while with the sauce that is going forming.
Accompany with lettuce salad, agrião and fried potatoes.

Chocolate Eggs ( Ovos de chocolate )
Chocolate in egg form, usually involving sweetened almonds
The almond can be substituted by a hazelnut, almond paste, chocolate or liqueur.

French almond (Amêndoas Francesas )
Candy made with a covered almond of hardened sugar, flat, white or coloured;
The covered almond of honey was already a candy much appreciated by the Greeks and Roman. The almond just it is made today is mentioned for the first time in 1220.
In that time, the pharmacists they involved in honey certain spices (anisette, cilantro seeds,) called «room spices», consumed to purify the breath and as digestive. When the sugar cane was introduced in Europe, they had an almond or a pumpkin or cucumbersud, covered with sugar. In Portugal the almonds are especially offered in the Passover but also for the occasion of the baptism , in the first communions and in the marriages.
Up to 1850, the manufacture of almonds and was handmade, in suspended basins with a rotation movement to allow the sugar to cover the almonds in regular layers. Only in 1850 the first mechanical turbine was invented. After that, the process was improved (the liquid sugar is pulverised on top of the almonds and dried with hot forced air).
Easter Folar (Folar da Páscoa)
1 kg flour
250 gr butter or margarine
35 gr of baker's ferment
100 gr of sugar
3 eggs
5 dl of milk Salt 1 spoon of coffee of herb-sweet 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010