Convent delights

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Composit Ovos Moles

Ovos Moles is the name of a store in Lisbon that sells traditional sweets made from recipes created in Portuguese convents. These wonderful desserts are procured from small producers who often kept the original recipes in their family for several generations. They are indescribable delights made of eggs, sugar, flour, fruits, and nuts.

It is a privilege to be able try and compare so many of these exceptional desserts. After all, in times gone by, we would have had to commit to a monastic life to enjoy the heavenly concoctions that Ovos Moles offers.

Ovos Moles is located at Calçada da Estrela, 140-142, tel. 919303788. Click here for their website.

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Ruby, Vintage or Tawny?

Port Wine is of Portugal’s export.

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2 Port winesPeople in the Douro valley say that babies and port wines are often born at night. Port producers let the grape juice ferment for about three days. They choose the perfect moment to add a neutral grape spirit (aguardente) that stops the fermentation before the yeast eats all the grape sugar. This moment often comes in the middle of the third night.

Most of the Douro grapes are used to produce ruby ports. These inexpensive ports are first stored in cement or stainless steel vats to prevent oxidation and then bottled. The result is a wine that retains a dark ruby color and fresh fruit flavors.

When the quality of the grapes is exceptional, port-wine producers declare a vintage year. These ports are stored in wood casks for one or two years and then bottled. With little exposure to air, the wine is dark red. Aging brings out complex flavors, such as notes of vanilla, chocolate, and…

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In Moments Such As These (While Paris Is Bleeding)

n Donne: Poems “For whom the bell tolls”

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

john pavlovitz

Paris is bleeding tonight.

We know little more than this with any certainty, and yet this is the only thing we really need to know right now.

It is more than enough to enable us to do what we are most qualified and called to do from where we are in this moment—It is enough for us to bleed too. What we do know is more than sufficient enough for us to run to suffer alongside those who are suffering.

We know that right now mothers, fathers, children, friends, spouses, lovers, coworkers, and neighbors are grieving and hurting, and though we may not recognize their faces or know their names or speak their language, it is in our grieving and hurting that we assure them that they are known and loved. Our solidarity is pledged to them in tears and prayers and the brokenness of our hearts. It is a sacred kinship offered in the raw-throated cries that we release into…

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Sophia’s cookbook

Here is one of the tenets of good cooking no matter what cuisine you are planning to cook.

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We spent a wonderful afternoon with Maria Azevedo Coutinho Vasconcelos e Souza, an aristocratic octogenarian who was a close friend of the great poet Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen.

Sophia liked to eat well and was a great cook. One day, she gave Maria a handwritten cookbook with her favorite recipes. This little book shows Sophia’s attention to detail and joie de vivre.

In the first page, Sophia lays out some general advice:

1 – smell everything before cooking;

2 – use small amounts of salt and pepper; they mask the natural taste of the ingredients;

3 – Salt the fish just before cooking;

4 – Be faithful to the nature and the truth of every flavor.

“This book is a proof of her friendship,” Maria told us, “and friendships like ours are becoming rare because they require an element that is increasingly scarce: time.”

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The rebirth of Lisbon

Even ruins can be delightful to the eye.

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One of the most beautiful monuments in Lisbon is a ruin. The Carmo convent, founded in 1389, was destroyed by the earthquake that stroke Lisbon on November 1, 1755. The convent’s gothic arches were left reaching towards the sky, asking questions for which we have no answers.

Today, Carmo is a place of peace and tranquility. For we know that from the ashes of the old city, a new Lisbon was reborn.

The Carmo convent is located in the homonymous Largo do Carmo in Lisbon.

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