Rice with benefits

He already came by at Christmas. We weren’t there. The same with new year. Now I am here, and I nearly fall in the water when I hear him shout “Olá!! Dona Helena!!”

I’m near the pool gluing tiles on a stairs. 

Olá! Estou aqui!”,  I shout back, a little less loud.

Ah! The neighbor Fernando







I call him neighbor, but he lives three villages away. He only has his fields here. He sometimes comes to drink a beer, when he’s working the field. He’s a happy man who likes the farmers lifestyle. You can tell by how he comes by in his tractor.

Olá, Fernando, como está, tudo bem?”  Portuguese still greet each other rather formally, however older farmers only say “Então?” – which means: “And?”

It took me awhile to learn how to deal with it. Just have a chat, is the best thing. I say often that i’m very happy when the sun’s shining.

Luckily Fernando had more to say than just “Então?” He explains he’s been by twice already, and that he’s happy him here now, because he wants to give me a bag of rice.

Muito obrigada”,  I say rather surprised, because Fernando grows his own rice. Five kilos of organically grown rice.

Which is great because I like rice

He doesn’t stay long, because his wife’s waiting with lunch. It’s Saturday afternoon, a lot of Portuguese have a warm lunch. Every day. The most important meal of the day. In the evening they might have a light dinner, but lunch is where it’s at.

That is changing, mainly because of large supermarkets. Those just stay open. The little stores close during lunch time. From about half past 12 ’till half past 2, so you better not make plans, because chances are you’ll find a closed door.

You might as well go to a restaurant and have a nice meal – which are usually full. Have a glass with it, not too much though, because we still have to work … ’till about 7.

I only need to complete two rows of tiles, and then I’m done.

Enough time to make a nice arroz de marisco! Rice with seafood – a typical portuguese risotto, like a type of portuguese paella.

I find it nicer. More tasty.

Try it! Maybe to get a taste of the country you can visit?

Arroz de marisco (for 4 p.)

400 grams of rice

1 kilo of mussels

1 kilo of clams

1 crab

500 grams langoustines

1 large onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

a bushel of coriander

2 el tomato pulp

2 el crème de marisco (powder)

3 dl. white wine

1 liter of water

olive oil



Remove the legs and pincers from the crab, remove the innards and save the fluid. Cut the crab meat in large chunks. Cook the mussels in little water, remove them from the shell and put them in a bowl. Save the water from the mussels.

Cut the onions and the garlic in small pieces. Chop the coriander.

Everything ready, we can begin

Pour olive oil in a pan. Fry the onion and the garlic. Then add the tomato pulp and the crème de marisco. Stir well. Then add the white wine. Again stir well.

Add the water. Stir. Now get it to boil.

Add the crab and the rice.

Add salt and piri-piri to taste.

The water from the mussels and the fluid from the crab are now added.

Let it boil for 5 minutes.

Now add the langoustines. put on the lid and boil it for another 5 minutes.

Add the rest of the seafood. If necessary add water.

Now let it boil  ‘till the seafood opens up.

Lower the fire.

Add the mussels and the coriander. Stir well and serve.


This YouTube film is in portuguese, but illustrates perfectly how to do everything. And: a good way to get in the mood!
Bom apetite!