Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Iscas, Portugal and the Algarve, Miss Universe, Storing Sausage.

Ponte_Vasco_da_GamaWe really loved Portugal and were so impressed with their wonderful roads which were virtually traffic free. We were also very impressed with the Vasco da Gama bridge which is 10 miles long and crosses the Tagus River near Lisbon. One heck of a view.The food was excellent and we never had a bad meal anywhere although we frequently ended up eating way too much. We stayed for two weeks in the Algarve which is the southern part of Portugal although we did travel north for a couple of days to visit a friend who lives near Oporto (the home of Port)  whom I had “known” on line for a few years. They took us to lunch the first day and my mother would have been impressed, we ate eels. I would never do so before, but I did enjoy them. Not sure how they were prepared, in some kind of soupy sauce. The meals my friend prepared upheld the reputation of Portuguese cooks, they wEnd of the Worldere great. In the hotel where we stayed in Albufeira we had breakfast and dinner as part of our package and on a couple of nights we were entertained by dancers who managed to perform in a tightly packed dining room, their pianist would then play on for an hour or so to entertain those who remained behind. I didn’t know at the time that I had a cousin living in the Algarve, I had lost touch with her. Pity. Not sure we will have the chance to go again. The picture of the headland, Cape Sagres, is known as the End of the World – here is a video I just discovered.

The beaches in the Algarve are absolutely fabulous and because of the geography of that part of Portugal, it is generally pretty warm right through the winter. We were there in November and during the day it was very warm, it got a bit chilly at night though. Unfortunately there were no laws against smoking at that time, so we could never use the lounge/bar in the hotel as there was a haze of smoke in there. I believe they had entertainment in there some of the time.

Jenna TalackovaBeen a row here about a Canadian Beauty Queen contestant, Jenna Talackova who was born as a boy and claims she always knew she was in the wrong body. She made it all the way to the finals of Miss Universe and then was told she was disqualified for not having been born female. Since then, Donald Trump, the owner of the pageant, has reversed that decision. She was interviewed on Good Morning America on Monday and she certainly looks like a female to me, a very good looking female too. Not only that she sounds like a female. She has had a boyfriend for a couple of years who, she says, is very supportive as are the other competitors in the pageant and considering how cutthroat that can be, its surprising.

In my blog of March 27 I mentioned that our bowling team captain was going to Sausage 001help her mother ‘put up sausage’ and that it was something I had never heard of. Her brother makes sausage which he has smoked, then the mother cooks the sausage and puts it in a clean jar, adds fat, turns it upside down and then stores it for as long as required. Apparently they have eaten sausage up to 2 years later and it has been delicious. I asked our captain to bring me some photos. She did even better, she brought us a jar of sausage and gave it to us at the bowling alley yesterday. You can see the fat at the neck of the jar. I expected more fat surrounding the sausage, but I guess it isn’t necessary. What a fascinating way of storing food – I have since heard of others who lived on farms in Ontario and knew this method, but I couldn’t find anything on Google and I never heard of it in the UK. I am not planning to eat the sausage too soon, we will see how long we leave it. By the way, I bowled reasonably well today. I had 5 strikes in a row in one game. Never done that before. 4 was my previous max.

I must confess I have never enjoyed liver until I came across this Portuguese recipe which turned it into a delicious meal as far as I was concerned. No, I didn’t discover it in Portugal but from one of my cookbooks. If you are like me, you too will find this a wonderful way to eat liver.


Marinated Liver and Bacon bits in a Red-wine sauce. “Iscas” is best served warm, accompanied by Portuguese fried potatoes.


• ¼ pint dry red wineIscas
• 1 ½ tbs. red-wine vinegar
• 1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
• ½ bay leaf, crumbled
• ½ tsp. salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• 1 lb. calf’s or ox liver, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
• 2 ½ tbs. olive oil
• 3 rashers of bacon, coarsely chopped
• 2 tbs. finely chopped parsley

1. Put the wine, vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, salt and a few grindings of pepper into a glass bowl. Add the liver, turning the slices with a spoon until they are evenly coated. Marinate at room temperature for about 2 hours.
2. Heat the olive oil over a moderate heat in a large, heavy frying pan. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp. Drain on a double thickness of kitchen paper.
3. Remove the slices of liver from the marinade and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Reserve the marinade.
4. Heat the bacon fat in the pan until it splutters. Add the liver and cook the slices about 2 minutes on each side, regulating the heat so that they brown quickly and evenly without burning. Remove the liver to a heated dish.
5. Quickly pour the reserved marinade into the pan and boil it uncovered over a high heat until it has reduced to about half, meanwhile scrapping in any browned bits clinging to the bottom and sides of the pan. Taste for seasoning.
6. Scatter the bacon pieces over the liver, pour the sauce over it and sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.
(serves 4)

Have a great day


  1. Awesome post and great looking recipe! Thanks for posting this!

  2. Do try the recipe Brandi, it really is great. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Kudos to Donald Trump. I didn't expect him to be so understanding of such matters.

  4. Originally he wasn't so understanding I believe, then he change his mind.

  5. I love liver, Jo, but I'm thinking of trying this recipe for the liver I'm planning for Thursday or Friday's supper. I'll let you know what the boys think of it. The secret of cooking liver is not to overcook it. It becomes tough and loses it's taste.


  6. That liver does actually look really good! The sausage I'm unsure about. What a delightful trip!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  7. Actually Sia, I would eat liver once upon a time when Matt cooked it on the barbecue and did overcook it, I found it wasn't too bad. However, with Iscas it is not overcooked and the whole is delicious.

    Recommend the Iscas Shannon - as yet I have no idea what the sausage tastes like, it looks pretty good and I am told all I have to do is heat it through in a fry pan.

  8. I have never heard of Iscas before but I will have to try that! I love liver but don't get to have it very often as my hubby is not a fan. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Bonnie try your hubby on this recipe, he may enjoy it, I don't like liver normally.