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I think the pandemic really put things into perspective for a lot of us—after having so much of our freedom and agency taken away, and realising how fragile the world is, we were suddenly like “actually, this is our life, and these years are precious, so we’re going to go out and make the most of it”.
My boyfriend, Hamish, and I were living in NYC at the time and wanted to start to build a life that was a little more wholesome and had a good balance between city and nature. Lisbon kept coming up — it’s on the coast (we both love to surf), centrally located, politically aligned with our values, and has a great food scene. After a year at home in NZ to check in with our families and work on some projects, we finally moved over in May. Safe to say, I am very happy here.
There are so many! I love Marquise in the morning for coffee and pastries. They make the best sourdough and croissants in Lisbon, and the charming garden out back is a very relaxing place to hang out.
The farmers market in Príncipe Real on Saturday mornings is so good. Everything is organic and there is an incredible variety of lush produce from local farmers. The tomatoes right now are amazingly juicy and so so sweet, I can’t get enough.
Costa da Caparica is always fun on the weekend. There are lots of gorgeous beach bars you can hang out at and spend the day lounging, swimming, eating, and drinking.
Black Sheep has an awesome selection of natural wine, and the team there has so much knowledge that they are always willing to share. I’ve been learning a lot about (and drinking a lot of) Portuguese wine which has been awesome as there is not a lot of it in New Zealand and it is so good!
I love Nannarella for an afternoon treat, their strawberry sorbet is so good. As is the pistachio gelato — much needed in this heat.
For dinner, SEM is an amazing restaurant that makes me very proud to be a kiwi! George and his partner Lara have such a thoughtful approach to food in their zero-waste restaurant that is so creative and so delicious. I also adore Senhor Uva which specialises in vegetables and natural wines. Churrasqueira da Paz is a great local tasca where you can get a simple meal of grilled fish, potatoes, and greens — my idea of heaven.
My family recently came to visit us which was so special! We don’t get a lot of time together so when we do it is always precious. I got to take them around all my favourite spots and spend some quality time together in my new city! We only had about 36 hours but we managed to do a lot of eating and drinking.
Hamish and I have also had some very fun nights out dancing. I think it had been maybe two years since we had been out like that so that’s been really really awesome to get back to it. The Portuguese are fun — they like to party, a lot.
In celebration of the gorgeous tomatoes this time of year in Portugal, I wanted to share a very simple recipe that tastes like sunshine on a plate.
Of course, I had to add anchovies too, but you can leave them out if they aren’t your thing. This simple recipe relies on the quality of your ingredients — use the best tomatoes, bread, and olive oil you can find.
1 very ripe juicy tomato
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 anchovies (optional)
2 slices sourdough
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove of garlic
Grate the tomato into a bowl. You will have a little skin left, don’t worry about grating that too, you can just eat it with some salt. Mix in the olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.
Heat a heavy frypan on medium heat. Add the oil and toast your bread on both sides until golden and delicious. Remove from the heat and rub the garlic over the hot bread to infuse the flavour.
Spoon your tomato mixture over your slices of bread and top with anchovy, if using. Enjoy in the sunshine.