My Portuguese Feast

Words: Crush

My Portuguese Feast is a new cookbook that focuses on Portuguese cuisine in South Africa. Author, TV personality and home-cookery expert Mimi Jardim was born in Portugal and moved to South Africa when she was a child. Well-known in cookery circles and vastly experienced, Mimi has taught home economics at colleges and schools, run her own school of cookery and published four cookbooks, including the highly successful Cooking the Portuguese Way in South Africa.

Mimi started developing recipes for iconic South African fast-food restaurant Nando’s in 1992 and holds the secret to many of their delicious marinades and sauces. She still consults for the brand today and has travelled the world promoting its peri-peri flavours. Mimi lives in Johannesburg with her husband, Augusto, and has four children and one grandchild.

Fuelled by a love of good food and family, and garnished with lashings of nostalgia, My Portuguese Feast is packed with delicious recipes for dishes ranging from everyday treats to weekend feasts – all accompanied by Mimi’s down-to-earth wisdom, personal stories and culinary advice. Want to know how to make the best prego rolls, prawn rissoles, custard tarts and chocolate salamis? Look no further than this book, which contains all Mimi’s secrets to creating the classics of Portuguese South African cooking.

My Portuguese Feast also includes a section of recipes inspired by Mimi’s travels around the world, which provides a wide variety of culinary thrills. These dishes include a very special Argentinian steak, a moreish Mozambican chicken curry and – in true Mimi style – several decadent desserts. Mimi has developed recipes for iconic South African fast-food restaurant Nando’s since 1992 and the brand’s co-founder, Robbie Brozin, says in his foreword to My Portuguese Feast: ‘This book is a tribute to Mimi’s 50 years of cooking, teaching, loving, exploring and sharing.

It highlights the flavours and tastes of Portuguese food and showcases the way the Portuguese cook – with their hearts and their souls.’ With over 80 recipes, and photographed and designed in My Portuguese Feast is available now at good bookstores or via at a recommended retail price of R385.

Here are two choice recipes from the cookbook to get you excited about the rest, enjoy!

mimi ice cream
Peri-Peri, Port & Fig Ice Cream
Serves 6–8
10 moist dried figs
40g almonds, toasted
60ml honey, plus extra to garnish
50ml fresh lemon juice
20ml port
15ml Nando’s Hot Peri-Peri Sauce
1 x 2 litre tub soft vanilla ice cream
100ml chocolate morsels or grated chocolate
toasted flaked almonds, to serve
ground cinnamon, to serve

When I was a girl, the harvesting of figs and almonds was special. I loved everything from the beautiful sight of almond trees in blossom to the harvest-time sounds of the shells cracking and the women talking and singing. Figs were picked, dried and stored at the same time. Now I am happiest when including figs or almonds in a recipe, so this one – which features both of these evocative ingredients – is a bonus.

Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer while you prepare the mixture. Pulse figs and almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Dissolve the honey in the lemon juice, then add the port, peri-peri sauce, figs and almonds. Fold into the ice cream, working quickly so that it doesn’t melt. Fold in the chocolate, pour the mixture into the prepared pan and freeze for 24 hours. Unmould the dessert onto a serving platter. Drizzle it with honey and sprinkle with almonds and cinnamon. Serve immediately.

mimi trinchado
Serves 2–4
500g rump steak
25ml olive oil
20g butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 bay leaf
125ml white or red wine
15ml tomato purée
125ml beef stock
salt and pepper

Many a student will greet me and say, ‘Do not stir!!’ It is a joke among us, because as I always – and repeatedly – tell all my students, if you stir before the meat is brown, you will extract the juices and toughen the meat.

Cut the rump into very small cubes. Fry the garlic and onion in the olive oil and butter. Add the meat and brown all over. Do not stir! Add the bay leaf, wine, tomato purée and stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper, simmer for about 20 minutes and serve with lots of Portuguese bread, chips or baby potatoes.

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