Here is our anniversary meal. This classic Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, or Portuguese salt cod-potato-onion casserole, is authentic in all ways but one: Instead of peeling, boiling, and cutting the potatoes, they’re very thinly sliced, layered in the dish, and cooked in the oven. Followed by Arroz Doce (Portuguese rice pudding).

I’m not a big fan of fish so the version I made had layers so the fish could be disguised between layers and I could pretend it was a lasagne! I made 2 as serves 4-6. The rice pudding had 7 eggs yolks. I’ve never cooked rice pudding before so not sure if this is typical for UK version.

Both actually turned out really well and I surprised myself. If you can stand the smell of salted cod fish in your fridge and the chore of replenishing the water every few hours you should give it a go. Washed down with a couple of glasses of vinho, I think it was a huge success. This doesn’t mean you will be seeing more photos of me in the kitchen as Adrian is still the better cook and I’m happy to leave the culinary skills to him and work in the garden.

I also made an effort as it was a special occasion so washed my hair and blow dried it. Also put a splash of make-up on and a frock! Makes a change from my muddy garden leggings and messy hair. I don’t think Adrian recognised me when I met him at the lounge bar for pre-dinner drinks. He was going to trade me in to the local farmer and exchange me for a goat and 5 chickens but I think he has changed his mind now and wants to keep me as I scrub up OK for an old girl!

Enjoy the recipes, I have also included the links to where I found them online.



  •  Olive oil
  •  2 large Spanish onions, cut in half and then sliced into half moons
  •  2 bay leaves
  •  4 garlic cloves, minced
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper
  •  1 3/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/16-to-1/8-inch (1 to 3 mm) thick
  •  1 1/2 pounds salt cod, soaked and cooked (above)
  •  2/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives in oil, sliced, plus more for garnish
  •  6 large hard boiled eggs, 4 eggs cut crosswise into 5 or 6 slices each; the remaining 2 eggs cut lengthwise into quarters
  •  2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and crank the heat to 350°F (176°C). Drizzle a good glug of the oil (maybe 3 to 4 tablespoons) in a large skillet and set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion slices and bay leaves. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Slide off the heat and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, liberally coat a 2-quart casserole dish with olive oil. Sprinkle the bottom with salt and pepper. Line the bottom with some of the potato slices, overlapping them in concentric circles, creating a flower pattern.

Scatter some of the cooked onions and olives over the potatoes.

Place some of the chunks of cooked salt cod on top of the olives and potatoes.

Top with one sliced hard-boiled egg.

Cover with a layer of potatoes and top with a good glug of olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Continue layering the onions and olives; salt cod; sliced egg; and potatoes, salt, and pepper–ending with potatoes. Occasionally press down on the casserole to make sure the layers are even and flat. Cover the pan with foil and slide it into the oven. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pricked with a fork or skewer, 30 to 60 minutes, depending how many layers you have. Uncover the casserole and continue cooking until the top is lightly browned, 10 minutes more.Remove the pan from the oven and let the casserole cool slightly. Strew the remaining olives, the parsley, and top with the egg quarters. Proudly carry the pot to the table and wish everyone bom apetite!



Link: Arroz Doce Portuguese Rice Pudding

  • 500 g (1.1 lb) Arborio rice
  • 2 pts boiling water
  • 1 lemon zest in large strips
  • 2 pts whole milk
  • 400 g (14.1 oz) sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon


Put the rice and lemon rind in a large pan.

Cover with the boiling water.

Bring up to the boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Strain off the excess liquid through a sieve, then return the rice to the pan and add the milk.

Heat on medium-low until bubbling, then stir in the sugar and salt.

Bring almost up to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook without the lid this time, stirring very regularly for about 10 minutes

Whisk your egg yolks with a few spoonfuls of the rice so that it doesn’t scramble.

Stir the eggs into the pot.

Now it’s a game of patience, keep heating and it will thicken – remember to stir well every now and then so that it doesn’t burn. After 30-40 minutes you’ll have lovely thick, creamy rice pudding

When you think it’s thick enough, pick some up on your spoon and let it drop. If it briefly holds its shape before dolloping off the spoon, it’s thick enough and will thicken more as it cools!

Ladle your pudding onto a large platter and leave to set for a few minutes.

Using a pinched thumb and forefinger, carefully sprinkle on your crosshatch cinnamon pattern, or any design you fancy.