In december 2017, I had the pleasure to attempt a short journey through the Alentejo region of Portugal. The intention was of course to get to know about the fabulous olive oil being produced but there were a few culinary things that caught my attention too.
Besides the whole experience of rustic interiors, honest people and good wine, there was chef Leopoldo Garcia Calhau from Café GARRETT in Lisbon who left a strong impression on me. The first evening we were invited to enjoy a delicious dinner in his restaurant and it didn’t take long to find out that the man in the kitchen knew what he was doing. His dishes were not complicating things, they were made of three, maybe four ingredients but in a really distinctive way.
Later that evening I was allowed in his kitchen and had the chance to ask my questions, as I ate a few things I did not experience before. His dishes were packed with history and simplicity but in an awesome way. He told me about the heritage of Portuguese cooking, the fresh and local ingredients and that it was a poor man’s way of cooking. He takes t(his) background and puts it into contemporary cooking…simply delicious and memorable to me.
By him, the migas dish was something I wanted to cook for myself ever since. Finally done, I am not to certain about my recipe being an original yet this is what makes cooking such a great thing. Take a recipe from here, a picture from there and mix it with your memories and emotions…et voila, a plate full of happiness. My migas recipe is plant based and free of sugar, so it gives one a good feeling too while having the second plate. I enjoyed the local and simple appearance of this dish so much, that you might find a second one from Mr. Calhau soon on the blog. As migas for example is traditionally made of old bread, remember that there is no need to waste „old food“, be creative and make something good out of it. We can learn a lot from our grand parents in this matter, so dust off the old cookbooks and get cooking.