The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Cataplana Porco e Mexhilöes of sorts

The Cataplana
Though I had travelled to Portugal in the late 60s and mid 70s, it was either for a footy match (Newcastle against Setubal) or on a ship to Porto to collect wine for Peter Dominic, I had never been to the South of Portugal (Algarve) until 1982.

I first had a Cataplana many years ago (to be exact 29, I know this as my daughter had just turned 2 and her Birthday is 5th August and she has now just turned 31 we had taken a holiday in a place called Quartiera on the Central Algarve (A terrible place and I don’t think it could have changed much) but it wasn’t all that far from the better places along the Algarve coast with a hire car. One evening we decided to drive into Albefeira for a meal and a bit of a promenade along the prom with daughter in her buggy, we went out quite late as we thought we could tire her out and have a restful meal at one of the small fish restaurants at the harbour, she did fall asleep, so we decided to chance a quick meal.

We went into a very small, cosy family run restaurant, about 12 tables, Mama cooked, daughter and Papa waited on. I couldn’t then and still cannot now speak or read Portuguese, but with the smattering of Spanish, that was in my grips I understood the pork and shellfish part of an entry on the menu. But Cataplana beat me hands down. I asked the Papa in embarrassingly bad Spanish, what it was, he shrugged his shoulders (they all seem to do that), pointed to a shiny copper ornamental clam shell object hanging from the walls and called his daughter across (she was in her mid 20s) she came across and started to chat and make a fuss of my daughter, who had by this time woken up (she had fantastic blonde hair, my daughter that is, why does she ever dye it black, orange and purple). She spoke very good English, although alas with a Cockney accent. I asked where she learnt it and she replied that she worked most of the year in London in a hotel run by her brother and returned home to help her Mama & Papa in the high tourist season.

I asked about this Cataplana thingy-me-bob and she explained it was a cooking utensil. A hemispherical top and bottomed pan made out of beaten copper this had been tinplated on the inside. One side had a hinge that had a removable pin and the sides had swing clips to clamp the two halves formly together, it also had copper cantilever handles. I was intrigued and started to ask quite a lot of questions and my daughter decided to join in, alas in a rather high pitched wail, which turned into a scream. I saw that this would be the end of a nice evening meal, but no! Maria (the name of the young lady) called out to the kitchen, out came Mama and took the screaming brat into the kitchen with her, buggy and all. I was relieved as by now I would have willingly not paid the ransom to get her back from any kidnappers, mother on the other hand looked a little more than worried, but was taken by the hand into the kitchen and there was a now placated baby girl happily playing with a baby boy of approx the same age, both sitting on a blanket in a corner of what can only be described as a large home kitchen. Watching over the pair, was Gran with a bucket of potatoes at her feet, peeling away merrily. It could have been the kitchen of my childhood. A warm healthy glow spread through me, a feeling of contentment and well being pervaded through, what was a very humble kitchen.

We left that wonderful kitchen and sat down at the table, I ordered a carafe of the local plonk and my wife had a bottle of water (I drove there, so she drove back). As I had made so many enquiries about it, I now just had to have the Cataplana. This was the start of a love affair that has lasted almost 30 years, I later through friendship visited the Algarve many, many times (though never again to the horrible Quartiera), but I shall never forget that wonderful evening in a small restaurant in Albefeira.

When it came, placed on the centre of the table with great aplomb by Papa, it was opened and out streamed the most wonderful, pungent, fishy odour, that had ones mouth salivating profusely before even tasting a morsel. Eaten with a bowl of those wonderful small potatoes and a pot of both the salsa Verde and the hot chilli piri-piri sauce and some crusty bread. It was wonderful, pure bliss, I think it must be one of the original seafood meat dishes ever invented. Who said that peasant dishes are not worthy of star ratings????

I have over they years tried to replicate the first experience, but have never come anywhere close to it. But the one that follows is pretty dammed good. Oh! My wife retrieved our sleeping nipper and we visited that fantastic restaurant a few times during that Algarve stay, but never again on an evening, I was all for it (it saved having to hire a babysitter from the complex) but my wife was having none of it!

So here is my miserable attempt to replicate that wonderful meal


600g pork filet


Chilli flakes
2 small dried chillies
Smoked paprika
Sweet paprika
Salt and pepper
Red Wine
Lime juice
Lemon oil

Slice the pork filet into 1 cm slices

Add the ingredients to the meat mix well, cover and place in the fridge for a few hours (Mine went in at 07:00 this morning and was cooked at about 19:00)

adding the wine to the pork

the meat in the marinade to marinate

Remainder of Ingredients

1 dessert spoon of Mojo Verde (see recipe)
Strained marinade juices
100 g of Chorizo sliced
Small sweet tomatoes (halved)
1 small tin of tomato dice
A few prawns, mussels or clams (they can be frozen and defrosted if fresh are not available)
50 g diced speck (bacon)
2 small or 1 medium onion (or 2 shallots) sliced into rings
300 ml of fish or vegetable stock
1 clove of garlic crushed and sliced
1 bay leaf
A couple of spoons of olive oil.

You can do this all in the cataplana and I suppose if being really authentic you would, but I heat some oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan add the onions and fry until traslucent, add the speck and allow to sweat a bit, then the garlic and chorizo, allow to soften and give off its paprika oils to the pan.

Remove from the pan, place in the base of the Cataplana and add a bit more oil if required, add the drained sliced pork filet and swiftly fry, making sure each piece is coloured, transfer to the Cataplana on top of the onions etc, add about 6 small halved tomatoes. Pour the marinade along with the stock into the frying pan and stir in the Mojo Verde, pour this into the Cataplana, add the bay leaf, put the prawns and/or the clams/mussels on top of the meat, pour your tinned tomato pieces over the top, lid down, clamped shut and cook on a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. Open and sprinkle with loads of fresh chopped parsley and coriander and serve. ( I always open at the table and serve direct from the Cataplana as it is sooooo exciting and the guests just love a good oooo-ahhhhh)

colouring the pork, in the back ground the Cataplana with the  Chorizzo,onions, speck and garlic

Adding the prawns and mussels

Papas Arrugadas

I serve mine with the salt encrusted wrinkly potatoes from the Canary Isles (Papas Arrugadas).

Boil small salad type potatoes in boiling water loaded with salt until soft, when cooked pour off most of the water until you are left with enough to just cover the spuds, now boil until almost all of the water has evaporated and the spuds have a salty coating and have gone wrinkly!

Papas Arrugadas in the last stage of wrinkling

These potatoes originate from Lanzerote but as this is a region closer to Portugal than Spain, I think that they go very well with this dish, accompany these with a green garlicky sauce and a spicy red one to dip them into.

Mojo Verde

10 cloves of garlic
1 small onion
200ml EVOO
150 ml white wine vinegar
Small handful fresh coriander
Small handful fresh mint
Small handful fresh lemon balm
Small handful parsley
A couple of  sage leaves
Pinch of cumin powder
Salt and pepper

Boil the garlic in the skin to soften, then fry the onion until translucent add all to a blender, add the herbs and spices, the oil and the vinegar, blitz and taste adjust seasoning to suit your taste.

poaching the garlic

The herbs garlic and softened onions

The finished sauce

Salsa Roja

50ml EVOO
25 ml red wine
1 fresh chilli (chopped) (from my balcony supply)
1 diced onion (or shallot)
1 clove of garlic (diced)
1 red pepper (diced fine)
2 ripe tomatoes de-seeded and diced fine
Grated Peel of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
S&P to taste (Celery salt is also good)

This is a raw sauce, so add the chilli, onion, garlic, half of the diced red pepper to a blender and bltz into a fine mixture add the EVOO and the red wine, add the grated peel and the lemon juice, blitz once again, put the diced tomatoes and the remainder of the red peppers into a bowl, pour over the sauce. Mine unlike many Salsa Roja does not use any cooked ingredients, adjust seasoning at the end ( a sprinkling of Cellery salt won't go a miss.

shallot, red pepper, garlic into blender

De-seed and remove white pith and chop chilli add to blender
grated lemon rind and juice of the lemon half

The finished meal with the salty spuds, the green sauce and the red one, all washed down with an ice cold bottle of pink.(Portuguese Weissherbst from Aldi under €2,- a litre bottle). All served on my balcony in the evening heat, boy did we need those bottles of pink!!!
11 O'clock, Papas Arrugadas, 12 O'clock, Cataplana, 3 O'clock, bog standard baguette, 6 O'clock Salsa Rojas, just off centre Mojo Verde

Jams and preserves

This year I have decided to do a bit of preserving and jam making, I shall be using the sugar reduced preserving sugar in my case Dr Oetkers as I support local folks, but primarily as I am a diabetic to enable me to participate in eating it, not just making it. I have already made cherry jam and heidelbeeren (billberry) jams. I will see if I can find the recipes and put them on here. I shall of course be making my mothers green tomato and apple chutney as I am down to my last jar. I do believe that Linda now that she is out of hospital will be making Mamtas plum chutney.

Blackberry and Apple Jam

1 kg of blackberries washed and picked over to remove stalks, mouldy ones and maggots

500g of apples (sour ones) peeled, cored and chopped

500g of 1:3 jam sugar

½ teaspoon of mixed spice

½ teaspoon of ground ginger

Small handful of chopped lemon balm

Good scraping of nutmeg

1 pkt of powdered citric acid

1 slug of Cassis (the slug can be as big or as little as you wish)

Tablespoon of apple vinegar

6 washed jars and their lids, put into the oven to sterilise (I use 120°C)

Heat the apple with the apple vinegar and when soft, mash roughly (I like a few rough bits left in, as it proves that there is apple in it).

Now heat the blackberries with the rest of the ingredients adding the apple mush.

Bring to the boil stirring continuously to stop any sticking to the base of the pan.

After about 3 minutes do the jam test, (have a small saucer in the fridge, take out, place a small amount of the jam onto it, it should wrinkle when pushed with a finger nail, whose and which I shall leave up to you).

Place the jars on a tablecloth covered flat surface (for Gods sake use hand protection)

Now fill each jar brim full (I use a funnel that is specially made for jam filling as my hand isn’t as steady as it was).

On with the lids (watch those fingers the jam and the jars are hot), turn upside down and allow to cool a bit, this procedure seals the jars.

Spiced Damson and Apple preserve

This is a spiced preserve as opposed to a jam and is meant to be not as thick and have pieces of fruit in it. It is a very good accompaniment to game dishes.

2 kg of ripe damsons

1 kg of sour apples (I used white klarapfel)ßer_Klarapfel

About a 2” piece of ginger, peeled and grated

3 good pinches (messer spitzen) of Cayenne powder

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of mixed spice

½ teaspoon of ground mace

1 kg of 3:1 jam makers sugar (I use Dr Oetkers, but any make will do)

Heat the damsons and apples together until they start to give off their juices, add the spices stirring continuously, now add the preserving sugar and keep stirring until it boils.

Now pour into sterilised glass screw lid jars (this made 10) same procedure as above.

More to follow as the season progresses

click on to link to recipe
Cherry, Apricot and peach Jam

A plaice on the bone and a lamb mixed grill.

I was up in Kiel for a long weekend and as I was dashing hither and thither, to and fro, backwards and forwards, I decided that I wouldn't go over board with the cooking this weekend, so I decided it would be a bit of light lunch and out for an evening meal on Saturday. I went to the market and got a nice plaice on the bone, some brown shrimps and some veg, chanterels, button mushrooms and some peas in their pods. Bought a cart load of fruit and a big bunch of flowers. I then went to hospital to visit Linda and on the way back I had to pass the Kiel Turkish shop that we use (well I didn't have to but I did in any case), I popped in and got some lamb chops, not those silly French dressed things, but real I am ones with a load of meat on them (more than likely mutton chops). I got 6 kidney's and they had some nice sausages 50% lamb-50% beef, they looked a bit like the Merguez of North Africa and France and a big bunch of mint.

So getting home I gutted the plaice, dusted it with seasoned flour, put it in a ridged skillet white side down and fried it in a butter/oil mixture.when 2/3 done popped it under the grill to brown the white skin and finish the cooking.  while this was happening I made the brown shrimp accompaniment heated a knob of butter in a pan added some finely diced shallots, garlic until translucent added some fine diced tomato (no seeds or inner watery bits) added a spoonful of capers and brown shrimps. Heated up and adjusted the taste with a dash of fish sauce removed the fish from under the grill and spooned the shrimp sauce along the top.

Your plaice or mine

That evening after a hospital visit, our friends, Marianne and Martin who had also been visiting asked if I fancied going out after for a bite to eat. I had spoken earlier and they had invited me around for dinner, but I had said that I fancied going to the "The Bauch Von Kiel" this is a smashing restaurant/bar and is probabily my favorite local when I am in Kiel, unfortunatly neither the owner or Gordon the Bar keeper, was working Saturday evening. Gordon has become a friend of ours and of the early hours, if you get the slant of my jib. As I had already had a full breakfast and a meal in the afternoon I settled for some gnocci in a sage butter sauce. PERFECT! marianne had  a nice salad with grilled lamb back strap and Martin the same but with duck breast. Both matin and I had Kristalweizen beer and Marianne had a medley of red wines from the large wine list. The "Bauch" has a very nice balanced menue that changes with the seasons, but also has a changing daily blackboard. The service was a bit slow on Saturday but this is most unusual, but it being very full and after 09:00 could have been the cause.

But if you are ever up Kiel way do drop in, don't worry about  not speaking German as Gordon speaks perfect English (all be it with a bit of a Kiwi accent).

The owner and all of the staff are friendly and helpful, I have yet to have a bad meal. The addres is:

Legienstraße 16
24103 Kiel, Germany
tel 0431 51215

It is not far from the Kleiner Kiel, a couple of  small lakes.
But it was getting late by the time we had finished our meals and had another Weizenbier or as Marianne had another glass of red. So it was push bike for them and a taxi for me and off home to catch up on the cricket and football results.
Sunday I had a lot of phoning to do, so that took up a great deal of the morning, but I did marinate the lamb chops in olive oil, redwine vinegar and herbs pounded in a pestle and mortar.

I also cut the kidney's in half and snipped the cores out with a pair of kitchen scissors.

These went into a bowl with a mixture of chilli, Garam marsala, rape seed oil, black pepper from the mill and a splosh of white vinegar.

Chops , kidney's and sausages onto a griddle pan and under a very hot grill.

when these are cooking sauté the cleaned and sliced mushrooms,chanterelles with some cured belly pork, diced shallots and crushed garlic and and some parsley to finish.

I hade boiled some potatoes and seved with a few minted peas. Quite a quick job if you do the prep in advance.

The finished article

I also made about 3kd of spiced damson and apple preserve. The damson tree in the hof has this year excelled itself, alas as Linda was not there to pick them a great many have already dropped and are starting to rot and attract wasps in their millions, I have informed all of our friends to go and pick them, it is such a waste.
It was now midday so I went a visiting, a couple of Linda's friend also popped in and we sat and drank coffee and chatted until 15:00, as I had to travel 400 km back to NRW that evening I didn't wish to set off too late and it had started to hiss down. So back to Lindas, potatoes on the "pfefferlingen and champions" all cleaned and sliced, peas shelled and into water with some chopped mint. Grill on, the chops, merguez and deviled kidney's under a hot grill, a diced shallot, clove of garlic and some diced pre-cooked spiced belly into a small frying pan, in with a table spoon of sunflower oil, when the shallot was traslucent in went the mushrooms and a hand full of  chopped fresh herbs.  Served up and ready to go a  tasty, quick and easy Sunday lunch. That finished a quick clear away and down to the car  and off onto the Autobahn, I need not have bothered because of the Autobahn was flooded between Kiel and Hamburg, everyone was traveling at a snails pace, head lights reflecting in the streaming rain, it was horrific, it took me about 5 hours in what I normally do in 3 1/2 hrs.

Photos to follow

Lamb neck and korma curry

My Sunday Lamb Korma

Evening before.

500g white dried beans (navel)
Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water.


A neck of lamb cut into slices (750g)
500g of lamb mince
2 carrots
1 parsley root
¼ of a globe of Celeriac
1 small leek
3 onions
100g of small mushrooms
1 each of red yellow and green capsicum (bell peppers)
1 tablespoon of home made garam masala

1 tablespoon of curry paste made out of :
3 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chili (mine came from my balcony)
3 pieces of ginger root in syrup
½ of one of the onions above

1 tin of chick peas
1 tin of diced tomatoes
500g of green beans (washed, sliced and blanched)

300ml of good stock
Dried coriander
Dried mint
Small amount of vegetable oil for frying

Dice the onion
Dice you peppers
Dice the carrots
Slice the leek
Dice the celeriac
1/4 the mushrooms
Dice the parsley root
If you have one of those kitchen machines that can do it for you go for it, I have, but find using the knife quite satisfying.

Homemade curry paste

Dice the chilli, add together with some of the onion, 3 cloves of garlic and 3 knobs of ginger (I used stem ginger in syrup minus the syrup, because that was all I had) to a small blender (it didn’t turn it into a paste so I used my good old pestle and mortar with a bit of course salt, I added some turmeric powder, paprika powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and my own Garam Masala.

My first Chilli of the season

My Garam Masala

2 ½ cm piece of cinnamon bark
5 cloves
Teaspoon of white mustard seeds
½ teaspoon of coriander seeds
½ teaspoon of cumin seeds
½ teaspoon of black pepper seeds
6 cardamom pods
4 or 5 curry leaves
half a dried chilli (mine from last years harvest)

Heat a dry heavy bottomed pan and add all of the ingredients, when the seeds start to splutter add to a spice grinder (I have a trusty coffee grinder especially for this), if you make more than you require store it in a jar you will want some sooner than you think (I often rub it into and under the skin of a chicken).

I next put the remainder of the diced onion in a frying pan with some oil and fried until translucent, I added a chopped clove of garlic and fried this a little, added the mince and coloured,

I now added my curry paste and cooked it to remove the rawness.I transferred this to a pot and added the stock.

In the same frying pan brown the neck slices, put these in the base of the slow cooker added the diced peppers & vegetables. Next added the mince and onions, then the white beans, the tin of diced tomato’s (it does help if you open the tin first). Switch on the slow cooker (High for 4 hours) and go out for a couple of pints.

On returning, Slice some green runner beans blanche in boiling salted water add this to the slow cooker, open a tin of chick peas (you can use steeped ones but I find the tinned ones work very well) and add this, add 330 ml of full fat yoghurt and a good sprinkling of dried (or chopped fresh) mint and coriander leaves. Give it all a good stir and cook for another hour.

Just before your ready to eat, put a pot of salted water on to boil (I use the 2:1 method) add the rice and cardamom pods along with the saffron, lower the heat and allow the rice to absorb the liquid.

And that was it folks, turned out very nice, I have about 4-5 portions for the freezer and enough for tonight.