By the Lazy Tigers

The Christmas lights are on, the shops are full of gift ideas, and we’re off!

However, Christmas in Lagos is so more laid-back than any other city we know. By all means go to Lisbon or Seville for some heavy-duty shopping, but spend the big day in Lagos and go back to a quieter and more peaceful time (with a bit of carousing thrown in). Take it easy, but not so easy you don’t book ahead for a table on the 25th. Every Lazy Girl knows that restaurant Christmas dinner tastes all the better for knowing there is no washing up involved, and places will get full very quickly.

We don’t have a recipe for Bolo Rei. It is hard to make, and the local shops sell lovely ones. However, we do have some recommendations for traditional Portuguese Christmas treats, which you can make at home very easily, and could come in handy for the odd drinks party or two.

BACALHAU

Unlike many European Countries, the Portuguese don’t have a list of dishes which must hit the table at Christmas, but at some point, they will definitely have something with bacalhau (dried cod fish) at its heart. The easiest recipe we could find are these fritters which make excellent nibbles.

Recipe for Salt Cod Bites:

  • One large plateful for passing around:
  • 300 grams of salt cod soaked overnight (if using fresh miss this step)
  • 400 grams of unpeeled potatoes
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 3 large eggs
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Boil the potatoes in their skins, then peel and mash them. Boil the cod for about 20 minutes, then discard skin and bones and flake it as much as possible until it resembles small strings. Mix the cod and potatoes and then add the eggs, the onion, and the parsley.

Taste the mixture before adding salt
Heat the oil in a deep sided pan to about 190°C (the temperature you would deep fry fish). Then shape the mixture into quenelles with two tablespoons and deep fry the fritters till they are nicely browned. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot or cold.

SONHOS

Our sweet recipe is also deep-fried, so if you are making both, do these first. Sonhos means dreams in Portuguese and these sweet little balls are dreamy when dipped in cinnamon, jam, chocolate spread, etc.

Recipe:

  • One large plateful for passing around:
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 large pinch of salt
  • 100 grams of plain flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 150 ml of water
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 50 grams of white sugar to serve

In a saucepan, bring the butter, sugar, and water to a boil. Add the flour and stir like crazy until the dough comes away from the sides. Then reduce the heat and stir for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a cool bowl and beat slowly for another minute (if you have a mixer with a paddle attachment use that). Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Cover and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Heat about 8 cm depth of oil to about 150°C in a deep-sided pan. Drop one rounded teaspoon of the mixture at a time into the oil (not too many at a time). They should float to the surface and cook evenly for 6 to 8 minutes. Drain them and coat them in the sugar.

GINJINHA


For a Christmas tipple, we cannot recommend Ginjinha enough. You can find several brands of this spiced cherry liqueur in the shops here. For an extra nice treat buy some of the chocolate shot cups they quite often sell beside them on the shelves. Absolutely fabulous and looks showy.

That’s us for this year, come and see us between 6–19 December, and maybe have a mince pie or two.