Portuguese sardine pate (paté de sardinha)

Pate de sardinhaI’m keeping on a Portuguese theme this week, perhaps in an attempt to recapture holiday memories in these early days of autumn.

For me, Portugal is synonymous with sardines, an economical and delicious fish, and best served as fresh and as simply as possible. Although this Portuguese sardine pate recipe uses tinned sardines, it’s simplicity itself.

Paté de sardinha is ubiquitous in restaurants, arriving before a starter, alongside sourdough and salty grey-green olives. We always bulk buy it to bring home but it never lasts more a month in our house because it’s so popular, so making our own makes perfect sense.

This recipe is cheap, quick and easy, and is loaded with lots of healthy omega 3 fatty acids, as well as being high in calcium (if you buy the tinned sardine variety with bones left in) and protein. It’s good for breakfast, spread on toast which has first been rubbed with a clove of garlic and drizzled with olive oil, or for a picnic dip with crackers. Or try it in sandwiches for a speedy lunch.

4 servings


2 tins of Portuguese sardines in sunflower oil, 120g each, oil drained and reserved

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

2 tbsp tomato puree

2 tbsp of sunflower oil, reserved from the sardines

2 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

sea salt and chilli flakes to taste (I used a large pinch of each)


Simply put all the ingredients in a jug and blend with a stick blender, or blend in a food processor.

Serve with toast or crackers.

Portuguese sardine pate


Caldeirada de lulas (Portuguese squid stew)

Caldeirada de lulasI love Portuguese food, particularly seafood. My favourite dish is sardinhas assadas, preferably served at a rustic seaside bar with a cold Sagres or a glass of Vinho Verde.

I also love the various tiny artisan cheeses, fish pate, chewy sourdough and gorgeous salty olives that come before your starter in restaurants; watch this space for a Portuguese sardine pate recipe.

This summer I had some fantastic squid in both Spain and Portugal, including the relatively unusual albondigas de choco, another recipe that will be featured here sometime soon.

But for the time being, I’ve made a caldeirada de lulas, which I took to my monthly food club this weekend, with Portugal as its theme for September. The key to the delicious rich sauce is to cook the onions until they start to caramelise and to be generous with the wine. I try to get hold of cuttlefish for this recipe as it’s so much cheaper than squid.

Serves 6-8


1 kg squid or cuttlefish, cleaned weight (ask your fishmonger to do this, as this is not a job for the squeamish!)

4 tbsp olive oil

3 onions, finely sliced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 peppers, sliced

2 small glasses of white wine, preferably Vinho Verde

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

2 bay leaves, preferably fresh

500g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut slices as thick as a £1 coin

½ tsp chilli flakes

2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped

1 tbsp sea salt

White crusty bread to serve


Preheat the oven to 170ºC fan/325ºC/as mark 3.

Cut the squid or cuttlefish into thick slices of 2 cm by 5 cm.

Heat the oil in a large roomy pan.

Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes on a medium-low heat.

Stir in the peppers, leaving to cook for another 10 minutes, before adding the garlic, and cooking for a further 5 minutes.

Add the wine, tomatoes, bay leaf and potatoes, and bring to the boil.

Stir the squid in the stew.

Once it’s simmering, season to taste and then transfer the stew to a casserole dish and place, covered, in the oven for an hour.

Season, then sprinkle with coriander.

Portuguese squid stew



TaramasalataEver since I discovered Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall’s tarama recipe in his comprehensive Fish book, I have been creating permutations of it. This is the adapted latest but by no means final resulting recipe, using much less oil than his recipe but still equally moreish.

White sourdough is the best bread to use here, both as an ingredient and to serve with the dip. Alternatively, use good quality bread with some texture, such as ciabatta, or scoop it up with warmed flatbread or pitta.

Apparently it’s traditional in Greece to eat taramasalata on the first day of Lent, or Shrove Monday, which is why I’m publishing this today!


200g smoked cod’s roe

1 garlic clove, crushed

75g day-old white bread, crusts removed

140 ml milk

25ml olive oil

25ml sunflower oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

Chopped flat-leaf parsley and paprika to serve

Serves 4

Smoked cod's roeMethod

Break the bread up and soak it in milk for a few minutes. Scrape the roe from the skin, add the garlic and mix with a fork.

Squeeze the excess milk from the bread and mash thoroughly with the roe using a fork until you get an evenly coloured mixture (I prefer doing this by hand rather than a food processor as it results in a better texture).

Add the oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with the parsley and paprika and add an extra drizzle of olive oil.


Squid curry

Squid curry

My cookbook of the month or possibly even the year has got to be Rick Stein’s India. His recipes are easy to follow, deceptively simple and, bar the odd hard-to-find ingredient, feature readily available spices.

I’m a part of a global food supper club and in October we decided to celebrate Diwali with an Indian spread. I adapted Rick Stein’s divine squid curry; I can’t pretend to say I improved it because it was already pretty damn perfect but I did make it a bit cheaper to feed a crowd. I padded out the recommended 400g of squid with more onions and added red peppers (a favourite trinity of mine in a Spanish casserole dish; watch this space for the recipe!).

You could also use cuttlefish, which is a cheaper option than squid. Ask your fishmonger to clean the squid or cuttlefish for you or, at a push, you could use pre-prepared frozen squid.


  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek powder
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 fresh green or red chillies, roughly chopped, seeds removed if preferred
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 50g creamed coconut, grated or chopped and dissolved in 50ml of boiling water


  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, chopped into 8 pieces
  • 6 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 4 cm ginger, grated and chopped
  • 2 fresh green or red chillies, finely sliced, seeds removed if preferred
  • 500g squid, cleaned and chopped into small chunks, tentacles left whole
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar
  • coriander leaves and sliced red chilli to serve

Serves 6

For the marinade, grind the coriander, cumin and black mustard seeds in a spice mill or pestle and mortar.

Mix with the fenugreek powder, garlic, chillies and tumeric to make a paste with a stick blender, using a bit of water, then blend again with the creamed coconut.

Put the squid into a bowl and mix well with the marinade, leaving it covered for at least a few hours or preferably overnight in the fridge.

When you’re ready to make the curry, heat the oil and when hot, add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the onions and peppers and fry until softened on a medium to low heat, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger and fresh chillies for a few minutes.

Then add the squid and marinade, along with the rest of the curry ingredients and cook gently for 7 minutes or so until the squid is just done.

Serve with the coriander leaves and sliced chilli on top.