In Lisbon, you MUST go to the...
In Lisbon, you MUST go to the NATIONS PARK, Parque das Nacoes, in Portuguese. It is the place were we have done the world exposition Expo98, and it is BEAUTIFUL!!! I miss my evening walks in the NATIONS PARK.It is just by the Tagus river, and it has the most wonderful sunset in the world!!!
Most castles still keep inside it a small "village" generally carefully preserved.
Lisbon's castle is no exception, but preservation is something for a longtime forgotten. In recent years people started seriously to care, but ruin is a menace to many buildings, forbidden to change and not suitable to modern life.
There are two terraces in Alfama that are great viewpoints over the city. One is Miradouro de Santa Luzia by a small white church and the other is Miradouros das Portas do Sol. Two great places to watch the city lit by the late afternoon sun before climbing up to the castle.
Chicken piri-piri is a typical dish selling in Portugal which you can find virtually everywhere. We simply call it Frango no churrasco (barbecued chicken). It is quite common for us to eat this either at home (we can buy it readily made almost everywhere) or in restaurants.
Piri-piri peppers (small and bright red, belonging to "capsicum" family) are native to Brazil, but were taken to Angola and Mozambique by Portuguese explorers and became such a part of the local cuisine that they eventually came to be known as Angolan peppers. Piri-piri is a Swahili word meaning “pepper-pepper” and the dish's African origins are clearly seen in its name but the dish became so popular in Portugal that it is regarded as a “Portuguese dish”. Actually many Portuguese keep a bottle of piri-piri sauce on the table and sprinkle it liberally on everything from fried potatoes to shellfish. The sauce should and must be quite hot, but it does not have to be unbearably hot.
Eventually the dish also became popular in Goa, India, another former Portuguese colony, and in South Africa, where there are many Portuguese workers. One of these, Fernando of its name, started a chain of food stores -Nando’s- that became quite popular all over the world, from London to Kuala Lumpur. He also chose for its logo another popular Portuguese item –the cockerel of Barcelos (see my Portugal General tip).
This is how I make the sauce at home. I don’t use to measure the quantities (everything “by eye”) and you also can try at your own. Trial and error is my best “recipe” in the kitchen.
Stem the peppers and coarsely chop (include the seeds); place in a shaker jar along with a dash of olive oil, sea salt (half of the peppers volume), and whisky enough to cover the all mixture twice. Cover tight, shake well, then store at room temperature and don’t use it for 1 month. Then you can use the sauce for about half a year. Shake the sauce every time you use it, and once you use most of the liquid part you can add more salt and whiskey.
But the piri-piri sauce is not all the story about the chicken piri-piri. The process of marinate the chicken is very important, namely the use of an acidic liquid (usually lemon or lime juice, or vinegar, or possibly wine or liquor) which adds a tang and tenderizes the chicken. Also the power of the grill is important, and the particularly aromatic wood chip to add smoke in the barbecue. In general, the amount of piri-piri that is used before grilling will determine flavor as most of it will fall into the coals or the grill pan and creates smoke that will lend a nice, smoky taste to the meat. The amount put on afterward will give it the extra punch and determine the level of spicy heat.
The marinade I prefer is a mixture (no quantities again) of oil + butter + lemon juice + red wine vinegar + crushed garlic (generous) + salt + paprika or cayenne pepper + laurel (grind). I prepare the marinade mixing all of the ingredients in a glass bowl. Let the marinade "age" for a while to allow the flavor to develop.
Then I cut a cleaned whole chicken down the center to allow it to lie flat (without cutting it into two pieces), then flatten it (usually people say “like a book” or like a “butterfly”). Then I rub the chicken all over with the marinade and allow the chicken to marinate for at least some hours, overnight if possible
I place the chicken on an outdoor grill over direct heat and grill for 15 minutes, turning frequently. Then move the chicken to the indirect side of the charcoal grill, turning the chicken every couple of minutes to prevent the skin from burning. Baste frequently with the rest of the marinade where, meanwhile, I add extra oil and piri-piri sauce. Remove from the grill when it’s done (depending on taste you can overcook or not). Then it’s time for the extra piri-piri sauce –a matter of taste again.
Serve with additional fried potatoes, a simple salad, and maybe some rice, and accompanying with olives and maybe some pickled vegetables. But people use to bring this king of chicken cut into pieces to picnics and just accompanying with bread.
Frango da Guia is a good restaurant chain (franchising company) that will be spotted in different shopping malls and tourist areas in major towns. In Lisbon area one of the best restaurants known for its frango do churrasco, which can be served with or without piri-piri, is a Churrasqueira do Campo Grande (actually is one of the best restaurants in the city for a grill meal, not just for chicken and one of my local favorites is grilled cod fish with punched potatoes, olive oil and lots of garlic). Just across the metro station in Campo Grande (green and yellow lines), Campo Grande 402/410, phone 217590131.
Note: You will find very cheap ready piri-piri sauce to sell in the supermarkets. Nevertheless, has nothing to do with the one I use to prepare at home.
If you want to buy some when in Portugal try this brand "Margão". They come grounded -you only have to add the salt and whiskey.
Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira
Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira itself is a private residence, dwelling there, in a restricted to the public part of the house, the current and 12th Marquis of Fronteira, D. Fernando de Mascarenhas.
The entrance of the palace, served by two imposing staircases and with a roof which shows a mythological Hercules and a lion. Two symbolic representations of honor, bravery, strength and fearless attitude of the founder of Casa de Fronteira.
Sala das Batalhas (Battles room) with blue monochromatic sixteenth tiles century representing battles against Spain.
Five acres of land is occupied by romantic gardens, decorated with tiles, hedges, fountains and numerous hiding places.
June to September: 10.30AM, 11.00AM, 11.30AM and 12.00AM
October to May: 11-00AM and 12.00AM
All visits are guided tours
Closed on Sundays and Holidays
Largo de S. Domingos de Benfica