LOVING THE CORN-FED CHICKENS IN PORTUGAL!
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Just back from Portugal - again! And I can’t tell you how ridiculously-good their corn-fed chicken is… plus the vegetables from the Saturday market in Lagos, courtesy of the local farmers who bring their produce every single week - so fresh, so delicious, so colourful and so ‘straight from the earth and onto your plate’. So I had to make my my One Pot Chicken but with everything that the farmers had to offer - cabbage, peppers, aubergines, parsley and a few delicious nuts thrown in - that was a meal let me tell you!

SPICED LAMB SALAD
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I mentioned the superb, top-grade lamb mince from James F and James M of Field & Flower in my newsletter last week and this reminded me of my Spiced Lamb Salad which I haven’t made in quite a while. Just how ridiculous is it that I seem to forget some of the recipes that I worked so long and so hard to get them just right!

When you look at the recipe, you could argue that the nut, seed and spice mix is slightly time-consuming (you can make it way ahead and keep it in the fridge, so don’t fret) but when the lean lamb is coated in it and served alongside the creamy feta cheese, the couscous, lots of watercress and the oh-so-sweet chunks of watermelon it is ONE JOYFUL AND FILLING SALAD! And, on a ‘nutrition-y note’ - a cracking good balance of protein, essential fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

PORTUGUESE CUSTARD TARTS! OH YES PLEASE!
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Yes, I know that they don’t necessarily ‘fit’ with a soup/nutrition blog but they are so very hard to resist! James of the Portugalist website sums it up very nicely… “This pastry is quite simply perfection in two bites.” I am going to let him tell you about the history of pastéis de nata because he grew up in Portugal and he tells it way better than me!

You have really got to try one, it has got to be a Portuguese-owned bakery and it has to be baked fresh that very morning - no ‘second day’ pastéis de nata - no way! And best ever, those that are still warm, straight from the oven - heaven in two bites (or perhaps three!)

And if you are in Lagos in Western Algarve look no further than Gomba Pastelaria on Rua Dom Vasco da Gama (just past the back of the bus station, two doors past the equally-fine butcher’s shop - Talho Lusitano). And btw: they also do a Coffee and Walnut Cake to die for!

DON'T YOU JUST LOVE A NOODLE?
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I suppose it goes way back to those slippery, little noodles in Knorr’s Chicken Noodle Soup? I don’t think I have ever come across a single person who was growing up in the 60’s who didn’t delight in that deliciously-lovely ‘powdered’ soup that only needed some water to make it come alive - with oodles of noodles!

Sadly, I have just had a look at the ingredients and they weren’t really proper noodles at all! Maltodextrin, EGG pasta [durum WHEAT semolina, dried EGG white, dried EGG yolk] (23%), potato starch, salt, flavourings (contain EGG, WHEAT, BARLEY), chicken (2.5%), sugar, chicken fat (2.5%), onion powder, yeast extract, citric acid, turmeric, parsley, antioxidant (extracts of rosemary). Oh well, didn’t seem to do us too much harm and perhaps gave us a taste of just why noodles are the business (especially in soups)!

It is hard to put into words just how utterly delicious my Thai Prawn Noodle Soup is … as I say in the intro, it is all about the spice paste right at the offset. I use one of those little spice-grinders and it makes light work of the process and your soup can be ready in less than half an hour!

Instead of the prawns, you can substitute cooked and shredded chicken or duck, strips of salmon, cubes of tofu or just a few diced spring onions, spinach or bok choy.

WHAT MAKES A GREAT SNACK?
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Ideally, the purpose of a snack is to keep us nourished and ‘on our toes’ until our next meal - SO - it should be occasional, small, tasty, nutritious, filling, fresh, transportable and quick - and preferably, it should NOT be a response to a sugar craving, an answer to boredom or a totally mindless moment! That’s when most of us come undone and somehow or another, the pounds start accumulating around our waistline!

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To get the maximum nourishment from the said snack, perhaps you might like to download my suggestions, stick those you fancy on your mobile phone which may become your ‘go to’ and hopefully never find yourself in that place where a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar are the only options!

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