Make Your Holiday Recipes Special: Add a Little Wine

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A recipe that calls for red wine and cherries!

Now that fall cooking is underway, it is a great time to start adding wine to your recipes. Of course, since you are unlikely to use the entire bottle of wine in the recipe, there will undoubtedly be enough wine left to enjoy while creating your masterpiece or to serve with dinner. 

Below are seven suggestions for adding wine to your recipes.

  1. When baking a box cake, substitute wine for the water. Terry well remembers when he was in elementary school, his mother taught him this trick.
  2. When cooking meat, start off by marinating the beef, pork or chicken in a little wine. The addition of wine tends to help tenderize the meat making it tender and  and adds hints of robustness. We prefer using red wine for beef dishes and white wine for chicken.
  3. Risotto dishes frequently call for …

We Wrote a Book!!

This post is by Gabriella Opaz from Catavino Food & Wine Tours

Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

It has been a long hard road, full of ups and downs, but today we are incredibly excited to announce that Catavino’s first book, The Undiscovered Food Stories of Northern Portugal, is finished. Sonia, Ryan and I are a bit tired, but we’re extremely thrilled that we have finally reached the end of a journey that took us deep into the heart of Portuguese food. Our muse was Bolhão Market…


We Wrote a Book!!

This post is by Gabriella Opaz from Catavino Food & Wine Tours

Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

It has been a long hard road, full of ups and downs, but today we are incredibly excited to announce that Catavino’s first book, The Undiscovered Food Stories of Northern Portugal, is finished. Sonia, Ryan and I are a bit tired, but we’re extremely thrilled that we have finally reached the end of a journey that took us deep into the heart of Portuguese food. Our muse was Bolhão Market…


We wrote a book

This post is by Gabriella Opaz from Catavino

Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

The Undiscovered Food Stories of Northern Portugal

It has been a long hard road, full of ups and downs, but today we are incredibly excited to announce that Catavino’s first book, The Undiscovered Food Stories of Northern Portugal, is finished. Sonia, Ryan and I are a bit tired, but we’re extremely thrilled that we have finally reached the end of a journey that took us deep into the heart of Portuguese food.

Our muse was Bolhão Market — the heart of Porto and, until recently, the engine that powered the North of Portugal. The vendors nursed the sick, fed the forgotten and served as a lifeboat to anyone in need. Their homegrown produce became key ingredients in five-star restaurants, their meat graced the tables of royals and their bread fed hungry little bellies. They were your local therapists, healers and chefs. And if there is one sage piece of advice these people have lived by, it’s to …

Recipes for our Thanksgiving Cooking Class

This post is by Keith S Wallace from Wine School of Philadelphia

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Cooking Classes at the Wine School of Philadelphia

A selection of recipes for Thanksgiving.

Pork Recipe

Roasted Pork with Plum Chutney

Roasted Pork with Plum Chutney

Chutney can be made up to one week ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm slightly before serving.

  • 1 pound dried plums (prunes)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil, garlic and shallots. When the shallots turn translucent and the garlic starts to brown,  add 1/3 cup water. Stir in the remaining ingredients: sugar, vinegar, mustard, ginter, pepper, and bay leaf. Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until  juices have thickened. Season …

Langostino & Pancetta Bisque
Cucumber and Artichoke Salad

Roman Recipes for October Cooking Classes

This post is by Keith S Wallace from Wine School of Philadelphia

Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

Every month, the Wine School of Philadelphia offers a week of cooking classes, Sommelier Smackdowns, and other great culinary classes.  For a listing of upcoming classes, go here.

Spinaci Alla Romana

Roman-Style Spinach

Spinaci Alla Romana

Spinaci Alla Romana

Ingredients for Spinaci Alla Romana

  • 2 lbs baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon leaf lard (or butter)
  • 2 tablespoons raw pine nuts
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper’

Cooking Directions (Serves 4)

  1. In a large stock pot over medium heat add lard.
  2. Add shallots and pine nuts. Stir until toasted.
  3. Add raisins, salt, and pepper
  4. Add spinach, and stir until wilted.


Roman Braised Beef With Tomato And Onion



Ingredients for Picchiapò

  • 1 pound beef brisket
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 shallots, rough chopped
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes ( 14 ounce)
  • 2 carrots, rough chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, rough chopped
  • 3 white peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 tsp fine salt

Cooking Directions (Serves 4)

  1. Remove the fat cap …
Pere Cotte Con Le Prugne

Recipe: Portuguese Pasteis de Bacalhau

This post is by Rochelle Ramos from Catavino

Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

pasteis de bacalhauIt’s said that the Portuguese have enough bacalhau (dried salted cod) recipes to create a different dish for every day of the year! Though possibly a touch farfetched, it has heaps of tasty culinary applications.

In Portugal, fresh cod is tough to come by, but bacalhau is ubiquitous! That said, it must be prepared in a certain way, unless you want your salt ration to exceed your annual quota.

One recipe I vividly remember making was Pasteis de Bacalhau or Bolinhos de Bacalhau, depending on where you’re from, which are a type of codfish croquette. My father-in-law spent the afternoon teaching me the intricacies of forming these cod and potato snacks and then frying them until they were a crisp golden brown on the outside and a soft satisfying flavorful texture on the inside. They’re delicious! But this is my first shot at making them by hand since that epic moment. …

pasteis de bacalhau ingredients

Selected Recipes for Mother’s Day

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Delicious recipes for Mother's Day!

Delicious recipes for Mother’s Day!

There are a lot of ideas for treating your Mom right especially on Mother’s Day. Need another idea?Why not spend a few hours in the kitchen preparing some wonderful treats for her? Better yet consider cooking together. While you’re cooking with Mom, take plenty of photos to help remember the good times.

Check out this list of recipes that use wine as an ingredient. Many more recipes with wine are located on the Wine Trail Traveler website.

Beverage: Icewine Royale by Reif Estate Winery

Appetizer: Spinach Risotto Cakes with Walnut Crust and Savory Tomato-Wine Sauce from  Sandhill Crane Vineyards in Michigan


Seafood: Creamed Shrimp from Pearmund Cellars in Broad Run, Virginia

Poultry: Easy Chicken Parmesan  also from Pearmund Cellars

Lamb: Lamb Rag-Out by Milbrandt Vineyards

Pork: Knapp Cajun Pork Creole from Knapp Winery & Vineyard

Beef: Blue Cheese-Zinfandel Burgers by McNab Ridge Winery

6 Tips to Guarantee Fresh and Delicious Olive Oil

This post is by from Catavino | Spanish wine, Portuguese wine and a whole lot more

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Sierra de Cadiz 1There isn’t a home or professional kitchen in Spain that doesn’t stock olive oil. Its omnipresence is ubiquitous. Similar to the French passion for butter, we adore this unctuous, golden liquid!

One of the best ways to experience Spanish oil is during breakfast. While a sweet pastry is still appreciated, most of us are unconditionally loyal to “Pan, Aceite y Jamón”. Fresh bread, olive oil and cured jam is my adoring start of the day; and while I occasionally substitute jamón with cheese, tuna or an omelette, bread and olive oil are irreplaceable. And believe me, Andalucia is where olive oil acquires its greatest expression: even the smallest shabby bar serves up a fantastic olive oil.

Artisan olive oil in remote Andalucia: Sierra de Cadiz

Spanish olive oil production doesn’t always occur on large swaths of flat landscapes, as we tend to imagine; although this is the case in Sierra de Cadiz, barely forty five minutes away from where I live. Sierra de Cadiz only represents 2% of the total production, but their olives are fantastic! As a result of the steep slopes, only mules and muleteers can access the groves. Once picked, the olives are placed into one-bushel sacks (50 kilograms), and propped upon the mule. Each mule can carry up to three bushels when trekking down the mountain and into the mill.

If you’re keen for slightly spicy, fruity and unctuous olive oil, this is a good find!

6 Tips to ensure fresh and flavorful olive oil

  1. Buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). It’s the only pure and fresh olive oil that’s free of additives and incredibly flavorful. “Extra Virgin” is an indicator of quality and guarantees the olive oil shows beautifully, both on your nose and on your palate!
  2. Buy EVOI in an opaque bottle, because after one week of UV rays, the antioxidants will be destroyed.
  3. Don’t let the color of the oil perturb you. Color is not an indicator of quality; it’s merely a characteristic of the olive variety, of which there are 262 in Spain. However, only 24 are regularly used in the production of olive oil.
  4. Look for an acidity that is less than 1 percent.
  5. The fresher, the better. Olive oil should be consumed the moment it hits the market. Some olive varieties are more stable, such as picual and manzanilla, which can last up to 24 months, but others like arbequina are the less stable, and will only keep up to nine months. How do you know which bottle to buy? Look at the “best before” date. For instance, if I choose a bottle today stating “best before October 2015”, it means it will be one year old.
  6. Close the cap tightly. Oxygen is not your friend! It will oxidize the olive oil and give off rancid notes.

These six tips are wonderful ways to ensure you’re getting the best olive oil possible. Use it and abuse it, but don’t forget olive oil is fat and has to be consumed in moderation. It’s not a question of quantity, but quality. A small amount of high quality olive oil is enough to feel its perfume and delight your palate. As it so happens, I’m currently cleaning bullet tuna: a delicate blue fish associated to the tuna family and common in Andalucia. I’ll boil them in salt water for about ten minutes, drain and dip each piece in some extra virgin olive oil garnished with black pepper, laurel and thyme. After a 24 hour marinade in the fridge, we’ll enjoy them, as is, alongside a tall glass of vermouth!

In case you have any question regarding cooking and preparation methods don’t hesitate to ask. 

If you can read Spanish, I suggest you to read this old post to learn about the entire production process, and this other one to know how an olive oil tasting is managed, alongside the various pairing possibilities depending on the type of olive. 


Valeska Idarraga

A Cold Soup for a Hot Summer Day: Strawberry Watermelon Soup

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Strawberry Watermelon Soup paired with Messina Hof, Sophia Marie Rosé 2013

Strawberry Watermelon Soup paired with Messina Hof, Sophia Marie Rosé 2013

While at Messina Hof’s Gala Dinner at the end of  harvest we enjoyed a four course dinner with Paul and Merrill, Melba Allen (The Wine Profilers,) Allison Markin (All She Wrote) and Tom Plant (WINEormous.) Many other wine enthusiasts were enjoying the dinner. Merrill provided us with the recipe for the second course, a yummy cold soup with seasonal fruits. The Strawberry/Watermelon Soup was paired with Messina Hof, Sophia Marie Rosé 2013

Below is the recipe for Strawberry/Watermelon Soup. It appears to be an easy recipe to make and would make a wonderful cold soup for a hot day.

Strawberry Watermelon Soup

Ingredients for Soup Base

Watermelon puree
Strawberry puree

Directions for Soup Base

  1. Mix and chill
  2. If you need a little sweeter add a small amount of simple syrup to your taste

Ingredients for Crème Fraiche

2 c heavy cream
¼ c buttermilk

Directions for Crème Fraiche

  1. Mix together and cover.
  2. Allow to sit overnight on counter. It will naturally thicken on its own.
  3. Just before serving drizzle the Crème Fraiche over the top.

1. For the soup add 2 tbsp dry basil and ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese.
2. Lace with Messina Hof Pinot Gris

Many thanks to  Messina Hof Winery & Resort in Bryan, Texas for providing this recipe.








Summertime Menu

This post is by Keith S Wallace from Wine School of Philadelphia

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This is the recipes from our cooking class on July 21st, 2014. Enjoy!



Cooking Classes with Keith Wallace.

Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad

3 peeled oranges
1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
1 cup arugula
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved

3 shallots, diced
2 cups orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the orange juice and zest. Bring to a boil. Drop to a simmer until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Turn off the heat and add the red wine vinegar, shallots, honey, salt, and pepper. Whisk to thoroughly combine and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add the oil in a thin, steady stream until completely incorporated and emulsified. Let chill.

Segment the oranges. Place in a bowl with the fennel, arugula and black olives. Chill. Toss gently with the sauce, then serve.


Acquerello Carnaroli with Shiitake

1 cup Acquerello Carnaroli rice. Substitute arborio rice, if you prefer.
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots peeled and diced
8 to 10 Crimini mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
½ cup red wine
3 cups broth (beef, chicken, or veg)
1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves only, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese

Put the olive oil in a skillet and heat over medium heat.
Add the rice, and lightly toast for about two minutes.
Add the onions and mushrooms and saute until tender.
Add red wine, stir until absorbed.
Slowly stir the stock into the rice (pro tip: keep the heat consistent and do not flood the rice. Slowly add the stock over a 10 minute period.)
Stir in the cheese and serve.


Olive Oil Poached Salmon with Rustic Tomato Saffron Sauce

2 six ounce salmon fillets
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp olive oil
3 large shallots, sliced in thin rings
2 pinch saffron
2 cups roma tomatoes (canned)

In a pot over medium high heat, add the oil and the shallots. Once the shallots are translucent, add the tomatoes. Bring to boil, then simmer for one hour.

Generously season the salmon with salt and pepper.
Place the fillets in a vacuum bag and top with half the aromatics, making sure that they touch the meat. Flip the bag over and repeat on the other side with remaining shallot rings, basil and dill.
Pour the olive oil into the bag.
Set water oven to 126.2°
Use the displacement method (Archimedes Principle) to remove the air and zip the seal.
Submerge the pouch and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove the fillets


The post Summertime Menu appeared first on Wine School of Philadelphia.

Cataplana: The traditional Portuguese cooking vessel explained!

This post is by from Catavino | Spanish wine, Portuguese wine and a whole lot more

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Portuguese Cataplana recipe Since moving to Portugal, I have yet to set foot in the south. The Algarve and the summer season seem to be synonymous with its white sandy beaches, sapphire blue and aquamarine ocean waters, and of course, the food which is full of the “fruit of the sea”. The abundance of fresh seafood, fish and sun ripened vegetables is what I dream of when I think of taking holiday in the summer lands of Portugal. Alas, it’s a bit of a trek from the center of this beautiful country where I live, but that doesn’t mean there is no hope of having a taste of the Algarve in my own kitchen.

The cataplana is well known to have originated in the Algarve, where it’s now seen as a symbol of the cuisine. There are two main theories where it came from, the first and most widely spread is that it came with the Moorish occupation of the region back in the late eighth century. Some believe that it is the Portuguese equivalent of the tagine from northern Africa, and it has more than just a similar cooking process; both dishes also have whatever is made inside named after the cookware! The other, and less heard, theory is that it was made by a Portuguese metal craftsman specializing in copper and stainless steel named Armando Luz (1927-2002).

Traditionally the cataplana was made out of beaten copper in the shape of a clam shell, this made it easy for hunters and fishermen to fill it up with the essentials like garlic, onions, olive oil, and the vegetables of the season to take with them in order to cook their fresh game and catch right there over a fire, be it just off a boat or out in the forest. The cataplana would act much like a pressure cooker in that it would steam the fresh food inside, locking in the flavors and juices while cooking. This made the process fairly quick without too much extra effort other than throwing everything into the pan and letting it simmer away.

Nowadays, you can find the cataplana in many restaurants in the Algarve as well as outside it. Served to the table inside the uniquely Portuguese pan, the dish usually includes clams, fish, mussels and shrimp but even that varies depending on the region. With its seafood concentrated robust sauce, it’s wonderful served with al-dente rice or boiled potatoes, and crusty bread.

codandraystew2My first experience using a cataplana came when my sogra (mother-in-law) gently handed me a “suspiciously familiar” white box filled with a beautifully clam shaped cooker. The outside was made from aluminum with a non-stick coating on the inside. Not exactly traditional, but it’s just right for a kitchen at home.

From the information I gathered, one basically just creates a refugado (sautéed garlic and onion in olive oil) in the bottom of the pan then add in the rest of the ingredients, a bit of liquid (usually wine, water or broth, and sometimes a mixture of all three), bring it to a simmer over medium heat, clamp the top shut and allow it to simmer over medium-low or low heat for 10 to 30 minutes depending on what’s inside. This is truly one of the easiest dishes to cook in!

The more I worked with the cataplana the more I realized this dish isn’t just for shellfish. It can be used for vegetarian stews, chicken, rabbit and seafood rice or arroz de marisco and a variety of different fish dishes like a Caldeirada de Peixe (fish stew). Cooking in the cataplana makes the flavors richer by not allowing the juices to go to waste by evaporating into the air and instead continuously sinking back into the food and creating a luscious liquid in the bottom.

I’ve included a few recipes for you to explore at your leisure. Mind you, if you do not have a Cataplana, simply use a saucepan with a tight fitting lid.

Seafood Rice Cataplana (Arroz de Marisco Cataplana)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
 3 cloves garlic, minced
 1 red sweet pepper, diced
5 large peeled tomatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
Pinch of piri piri flakes (or red pepper flakes)
3 ¾ cups (890ml) vegetable broth
¾ cup (180ml) white wine
2 cups (475ml) Carolino rice (short grain white rice) 
12 large whole shrimp
½ pound (225g) mussels, cleaned
½ pound (225g) clams, cleaned
Salt to taste
1 lemon
Fresh cilantro

Heat olive oil in the cataplana over medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic and allow to cook, stirring frequently, about 5-10 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the diced pepper and tomatoes to the pan and allow it to cook another 5 or so minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the broth and white wine into the pan, stir well and bring to a boil.

Once the liquid has come to a boil, add in the rice and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and cover with the top of the cataplana, allowing it to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked but still has plenty of liquid. Taste the rice and add salt as necessary.

Open the cataplana and place the shrimp, mussels and clams into the rice and cover again. Allow it to cook about 5-7 minutes or until the shells open and the shrimp has turned bright pink.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top and sprinkle with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

Portuguese Cod fish and Stingray Stew (Caldeirada de Bacalhau e Raia)

1 lb (1/2 kg)Bacalhau (salted cod), pre-soaked to remove excess salt
1 lb (1/2 kg)stingray fins
4-5 medium potatoes
2 cups ( ½ liter) tomato sauce
1 green bell pepper
2 large onions
5 cloves garlic
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup white wine
A small bunch of fresh cilantro/coriander
½ teaspoon black or white pepper
Salt to taste

Note: When pre-soaking the bacalhau, place the cod into a container of cool water and change the water every 6 hours or so to remove the excess salt. This can be done for 2 days prior to making the recipe in order to remove as much salt as possible before cooking. Do not salt this dish before tasting it at the end.

Cut the bacalhau and ray into 1 ½ – 2 inch chunks and set aside. Peel the potatoes and cut them into ¼ inch slices and set aside. Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper before thinly slicing and set aside. Peel the onion and thinly slice into half-moons, and mix all but ¼ of the onion with the pepper. Peel the garlic and thinly slice it.

Heat the olive oil in the cataplana over medium heat. Add in the garlic and ¼ of the onion and sauté for 1-3 minutes or until garlic is golden and onion is translucent. Layer the onion and bell pepper on top, some coriander, then add a layer of potato. Repeat until all the onion/pepper mixture and potato has been used, reserving a bit of the cilantro/coriander for later. Pour in the tomato sauce, wine and season with pepper. Close the cataplana and bring it to a boil.

Once it’s come to a boil, open the cataplana and add the fish to the pan, stir gently and cover again and reduce heat to low and allow it to simmer about 15 – 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Turn off the heat, open the cataplana and add the last of the cilantro/coriander on top.

Serve immediately with Portuguese bread.


Rochelle Ramos

Portuguese Recipe: Massa de Pimentão and Bifana Sandwiches

This post is by Rochelle Ramos from Catavino | Spanish wine, Portuguese wine and a whole lot more

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massa de pimentaoI always know when summer is officially in season in Portugal by the way the air smells. The distinct aroma of smoking charcoal, assorted carnes (meat) and peixes (fish) being grilled seems to float around just about everywhere you go. It’s the smell of grilled bifanas marinated with the fantastic, uniquely Portuguese red paste, massa de pimentão, that really makes one’s mouth water and taste buds yearn for a bite.

Massa de pimentão (pronounced “ mah-ssah de pea-meant-ow”) is a sweet yet salty pepper paste made from salt cured red bell peppers. It’s found throughout Portuguese cooking as a base for sauces and stews, as a marinade for meats or fish and is also used as a condiment. It gives a distinct flavor that just isn’t possible from paprika, chouriço or wine alone. If you’ve ever tried to make a Portuguese dish and something seemed to be missing, more than likely it was massa de pimentão. Luckily it’s easy enough to make in your own kitchen and is perfect for experimenting in a variety of savory dishes.

Bifanas (pronounced “beef-aw-nas”), grilled pork sandwiches, are a prime example of why massa de pimentão needs to be in every kitchen. Believed to have originated in the Alentejo, the bifana can now be found in every region of the country with their own spin on the original. Walk through any festa (festival), outdoor event or past a little café and this sandwich will be there. Bifanas are the Portuguese street food. Sure there are the sardinhas (sardines) on crusty bread in the summer and the roasted castanhas (chestnuts) in the winter, but bifanas are year round.

Often considered a “snack”, the humble bifana is quite simple; just a crusty Portuguese bread roll slathered with yellow mustard and a thin-cut pork steak that when done right, is more than just your average meat sandwich. It’s all to do with the sweet tangy pepper paste infused marinade. This marinade doesn’t just give a wonderful taste but keeps the pork nice and juicy while being grilled.

With food like this there’s no need for the hamburgers and hot dogs when you can have a juicy, savory and simple sandwich with a cold frothy beer this summer!

Sweet Pepper Paste (Massa de Pimentão)

Makes 2 cups


  • 6 large red bell peppers
  • 2-3 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup (295 ml) olive oil

Wash peppers and remove the stems, seeds and white ribbing. Cut the peppers into about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick strips. Place a layer of pepper strips into the bottom of a bowl and generously sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the rest of the pepper strips, salting in between each layer. Cover tightly with a towel and leave out at room temperature for at least 12 hours. Some recipes suggest curing the peppers up to 6 days, but when you don’t have enough time, 12-24 hours is sufficient for good flavor.

Pre-heat the oven to 325ºF (162ºC).

Drain the peppers of excess liquid. Put the peppers into an oven safe dish or on a baking tray to slow roast for 1 ½ to 2 hours in the oven. Remove the peppers and cool to room temperature.

Using your fingers, remove the outside skin from the peppers. Place the peeled pepper strips and peeled garlic cloves into a food processor or blender. If a food processor is unavailable, use a pestle and mortar or other tool to grind the peppers into a paste.

Blend the peppers for 30 seconds to make a thick paste, add in half the olive oil and blend again for another 30 seconds. Add the rest of the oil to the pepper paste and blend for another minute or until smooth.

If you’re planning on preserving this, leave the garlic out and just add fresh garlic each time you use the paste.

bifanasPortuguese Pork Cutlet Sandwich (Bifanas)

Servings: 6


  • 6 very thin, lean pork cutlets
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup (295 ml) massa de pimentão(see above)
  • ½ tablespoon piri-piri flakes (optional)
  • 2 cups (473 ml) white-wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 Portuguese bread buns
  • Mustard (optional)

Place pork cutlets into a sealable bag and add in garlic, massa de pimentão and piri-piri. Pour in the wine and add in the bay leaf. Remove as much excess air from the bag as possible and seal well.

Massage the pork through the bag to cover everything with the marinade and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to cook, remove the pork from the refrigerator and build a hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill to high.

Lay the marinated pork on the hot grill to cook about 5-7 minutes on each side or until meat is white on the inside.

Serve pork bifanas on crusty Portuguese buns with a healthy dose of mustard and a cold Portuguese beer!

How to Make Portuguese Linguiça at Home

This post is by from Catavino | Spanish wine, Portuguese wine and a whole lot more

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LinguiçaWords involving “cured and smoked” in regards to meat in Portugal often leads to thoughts of links of spicy chouriço or subtly sweet legs of presunto hanging in a dark smoke house. Some of the other sausages come to mind such as alheira. The one that has found its way across the globe, from Hawaii to Brazil, and has been integrated into so many cuisines is the robust yet mild linguiça.

Linguiça (pronounced “Lin-gwees-sa”) is said to have derived its name from its unique shape, a long slender tongue (lingua in Portuguese), and not from any use of tongue in the sausage itself. This sausage is primarily prepared at home and rarely seen in restaurants, though it’s readily available in stores across the country and in many specialty stores in the US. If you like chouriço, but don’t want the extra spice it often brings then linguiça is a perfect alternative to use in Portuguese soups, arroz de pato (duck rice) or in pasta.

One dish where the use of linguiça is a requirement is the Francesinha (Frenchie in Portuguese), the famous Porto sandwich that has origins in the French croque-monsieur. It’s thought that this luscious sandwich originated in the 1960’s in Porto when Daniel da Silva returned to Portugal from France with the notion of adapting the croque-monsieur for the Portuguese palate. This resulted in a sandwich layered with cheese, ham, steak, and linguiça and smothered in a tangy, sweet sauce, essentially making it the ultimate sanduíche portuguêsa and the perfect medium to try some delicious homemade linguiça!

Home-made Linguiça

Makes about 5 pounds (2.25kg)

  • 5 pounds (2.25kg) pork butt, untrimmed
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons (55g) paprika
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) allspice
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup (60ml)white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup (120ml) cold water

Cut the pork butt into cubes. Do not trim and remove fat. You will want the fat included in the sausage.

With a meat grinder or a food processor, grind the meat into a coarse consistency. If you don’t have either machine, you can request the butcher to do it for you.

Place ground pork into a large bowl and add in the garlic, salt, coriander, cinnamon, allspice and black pepper. Mix everything together using your hands. Add in the vinegar and water and mix again until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for about 48 hours to allow the flavors to blend.

If a sausage stuffer is available, use it to fill sausage casings (about 20) or you can use your hands to form patties or links.

Feel free to smoke these if you have a smoker, but it’s not necessary. Most of the linguica I’ve had was cooked with something or grilled either outside on a churrasco or in an assador de chouriço using aguardente to set it a flame. These also can be frozen for later use.


Makes 1 sandwich

    • 2 slices of good bread
    • 2 linguiça, grilled and each cut into four pieces
    • 2 slices smoked ham
    • 3 slices of your favourite Portuguese cheese
    • ¼ inch thick grilled beef steak


  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup Port wine
  • 1 cube beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).

In a small bowl, dissolve the corn starch in 2 tablespoons of the milk. Stir to make certain there are no lumps. Set aside

In a sauce pan melt the butter on medium low heat. Add in the tomato paste and stir well. Pour in the rest of the milk, beer, Port, and add in the bay leaf and beef stock cube.  Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Turn off the heat and discard the bay leaf. Stir the corn starch and milk mixture again and add it to the sauce, stirring well. Set aside.

Assemble the sandwich by placing a slice of cheese and one slice of bread on top of it on an oven safe dish. Lay another slice of cheese on the bread and then layer a slice of ham, four pieces of linguiça, steak, the last four pieces of linguiça and top it with the other slice of ham and a slice of cheese. Lay the other slice of bread on top and top with cheese. Secure the sandwich with toothpicks if you like.

Pour the sauce on top of the sandwich and place the dish into the preheated oven and allow the cheese to melt, about 5-10 minutes.

Remove the Francesinha from the oven and remove the tooth picks before serving.

 Rochelle Ramos

Friday Feature Photo: Gentle Spanish Hands

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Utiel Requena, SpainPhotographerAlbertina Torres

Capture Date: October 4, 2012

Location: Caudete de las Fuentes (Valencia-Spain)

About: For her Spanish Notebooks project, Albertina went into the houses in Utiel-Requena, where she’s invited to share those special moments when food is being prepared. On that specific day, María was cutting some peppers, and the image reminded Albertina of an old painting.

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Purchase: Please contact us directly if you’re keen to purchase any of Catavino Friday Photo images. Note that the images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.

Vejer de la Frontera – The Dining Mecca of Costa de la Luz, Spain

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Vejar de la Frontera, SpainOne of the most unexpected thrills of Vejer de la Frontera for a first time visitor is the huge number of eateries hidden away in the beautiful Pueblo Blanco. A further surprise is the impossibility of eating badly in this gastronomic paradise. Vejer doesn’t rely just on summer tourists – there are the regular visitors as well; hence, if the food isn’t good, the restaurant will close.

One would be forgiven for comparing Vejer in Cádiz, Spain to Ludlow in Shropshire, UK. Both are out of the way places, off the gourmet map. But interestingly, both have a plethora of spectacularly good eating places which makes Vejer a fab weekend getaway for the food minded.

What’s made Vejer an enchanting foodie Meca? The ingredients! Which are fresh, local and full of flavor! But let’s not forget that beyond the fantastic gastronomy, Vejar is known for its bewitching charm and proximity to some of the best beaches in the world. In 2013, Vejer officially became one of Los Pueblos Mas Bonitos d’España (one of the most beautiful villages in Spain).

Dining in Vejer can be one long tapas crawl. It really is possible to have dinner by popping into your favourite place for your favourite dish. And then onto the next, for another.  There are too many great places in town to suggest a route. So here are my personal suggestions but you’ll need a few days to complete the course.

2013 saw some new places open and only one close. The highlight of the openings has to be the transformation of the simple Mercado de Abastos into a gourmet market – Mercado San Francisco. Lots of little stalls selling fabulous tapas – we even have a sushi stall! You may think this slightly strange considering LA  CRISIS (economic crisis), but amazingly, few have folded. Starting on Plaza d’España, you’ll find Garimba Sur (Plaza d’-España 32). The decor is striking – stunning  wooden fixtures and brightly painted old Andaluz tiles. Blissful sitting on the plaza, eating their top notch risotto de semola de trigo, or arroz negro, whilst people watching and sipping on Vermouth, life doesn’t get much better.

Vejar de la Frontera, SpainStumble next door into Trafalgar ( Plaza d’España, 31), one of the first restaurants in Vejer. Again sitting in the plaza, you’ll enjoy excellent escabeche de Atun rojo and some of the best Rabo de Toro (oxtail) I’ve ever tasted. You might find Acinipo here as well, a great red wine from Ronda.

On the other side of the plaza, El Jardin del Califa (Plaza d’España 12) remains one of the most popular and consistently fabulous dining spots in town. From June onwards,  if you don’t have a reservation, you just need to will someone to cancel. Their Moroccan inspired kitchen and BBQ consistently produces wonderful delights. The Meze platter is delicious and hasn’t changed for years and if it did – I’d be complaining for sure. On their wine list you will find Barbazul, Gaurum & Cortijo de Jara – all noteworthy local reds.

Close to the church is Ramon’s Viña y Mar (Ntra. Sra de la Oliva. 8), the place for various styles of Sherry. It’s the town’s only Sherry bar and a hub for local Sherry aficionados. Scrummy tapas (the tiny jars of anchoas from Cantabria are a must with your first Fino) and a good selection of interesting wines by the glass. Ramon offers more than 40 Sherries by the glass from Manzanilla €2 to a VORS €6. He also carries the entire Tradiçion VORS range. Excellent tapas with an ever-changing menu, it’s a great place to play with food and sherry matching.

A little bit uphill, turn left, and in front of the church you’ll find Casa Varo (Calle Nuestra Señora de la Oliva, 9). Juan Varo and his family have made their mark on all of us. His Carpaccio de Atún de Almadraba (available all year round from his supplier in Barbate where the Almadraba tuna is frozen at -60 deg) may be one of the most delicious things you will taste in Vejer. Great Albondigas de Choco and divine fingers of bread topped with a single Anchoa (salted anchovy) and a wedge of local Payoyo Goat’s cheese. There is very little here that I don’t love to eat.  All the best cuts of Iberian pork and local Retinto beef. A great selection of wines including, Pintia and Mauro. His fruity after dinner chupitos are totally addictive

Back along the Corredaera to The Taperia (Corredera 33). It’s small but with a great outdoor terrace. As it’s part of El Califa, it offers all of El Califa’s meze range but in a more casual dining scenario. You’ll find a good selection of different wines by the glass and various tapas, such as Gambas with Chili & Ginger.

La Officina (Calle Paseo de las Cobijadas, 1), at the far end of Juan Bueno, this bar exclusively offers local wines and Sherry by the bottle and glass. Really fabulous freshly cooked tapas, keep an eye out for the retinto burgers and champi chocos (mushrooms & cuttlefish). The local red wine production is also worth noting – it just gets better and better.

Vejar de la Frontera, SpainWalking along Juan Bueno towards La Officina, on the right, with wooden tables and chairs, you’ll see Bar Navarro (Juan Bueno,8). This is the best place for pescados fritos (fried fish). A platter of pescados fritos for 2 with a yummy bottle of vino blanco, while sitting at a table in the narrow street, filled with playful children, makes for a great casual evening. They have everything fishy – including calamar a la plancha (grilled calamari). Not only Barbadillo white wine on offer here, but you’ll also find Enate Chardonnay from Somontano – definitely worth trying.

Tucked away on the right hand side opposite The English Bookshop as you walk towards the new town on Juan Relinque is El Conejito (Calle Juan Relinque)– Pedro’s Bar. Pedro’s Jamón is amongst the best in town. Washed down with ultra chilled Manzanilla and his yummy olives – it’s mouthwateringly good! He makes his own tapas right there, including great albondigas (meatballs). Heading back towards the church, stop off at Pepe Julian (Calle de Juan Relinque, 7)  opposite Plaza San Francisco. Perfectly fabulous Jamón, Boquerones en Vinagre (anchovies in vinegar), Puntillitas ( tiny deep-fried squid) and ensaladilla (salad). Look on the right when you walk in – Pepe Julian keeps his special red wines there that won’t reach the list. Ask nicely and he might just pull out some real gems. Great cheese omelette and roasted pulpo too.

Look  opposite and you will find El Aljibe (San Francisco 1) fantastic croquetas of Mojama (air dried tuna) and Erizos (sea urchins). The best Paella in town can be found at Meson el Palenque (San Francisco 2), next to the market, opposite the new theatre in Plaza San Francisco. But you have to order it in advance as it is made to order. Great simple salad here too – tomato, lettuce & onion  – totally simple & delicious. Also a good lunch spot if you are a big group and want simple fried fish and salads to be paired with a delicious rosé wine.

Then onto El Central (Calle Teniente Castrillón, 5,) – again a huge family affair – if you can get over the scary Rod Stewart music, you can indulge in what must be my favourite things to eat in the whole of Vejer. Tostas con anchoas y boquerones, a marriage of the salted and pickled anchovies with alioli and tomato salsa. With a glass of Manzanilla – this is my desert island dish. Here you will eat the BEST entrecote de Retinto. Salvador cooks it to perfection, al punto for me please. Sprinkled with sea salt and then sliced (if you ask) so you can all dip in. Perfect homemade chips. Indulge in a bottle or two of Barbazul. A wonderful velvety well made red wine from Taberner in Arcos.

You might just head up to the Flamenco Peña and see what’s happening. Gustav runs the Peña and Caso Leanor (Calle Rosario, 25). He whips up the best Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Bacalao and always great music.  In the Peña he offers great tapas of Almuerzo Campero – the farmers lunch – somewhat similar to haggis but made from pigs!

Vejar de la Frontera, SpainLa Pousada (Calle los Remedios, 21) is worth noting because it’s one of the oldest establishments in town. I have had the very best squid and fish here, while staring at the old black and white photos of Vejer.

The 3 really fabulous new places in 2013 were Valvitida, Morenga and Las Delicias.

Valvetida (Juan Relinque 3) – Jesus is an incredible chef with a constantly changing menu of mini plates to share. Tamara, his other half, keeps front of house in check. Little parcels of black pudding and apple. Crinkly potatoes with dipping sauces. Retinto burgers. Fabulous desserts too.

Las Delicias (Corredera, 31) has to be the most impressive restaurant to have opened in Vejer. Designed by the Gasper Sobrino who also designed Garimba and the Gourmet Market, it is a stunning restored theatre with a great outside terrace. Live music and again, great food. Crispy tuna burgers and Carpaccio de presa ibérica (carpaccio of pork!) are amongst my favorites.

Marengo (Calle Santísimo, 1) boasts of fabulous prawns, wrapped in basil leaves, then in brik pastry and deep fried. Served with a peanut sauce – it’s sensational. Here you’re able to enjoy tapas of different cuts of meat, which is great for tasting. You will also find Botani here – a fragrant dry Moscatel from Malaga.

If you’re keen to find someone to take you to the hidden gems in Vejar, are keen to learn how to make incredible Andalusian food, or are in need of a fantastic sherry course, contact Catavino!! Additionally, check out our gourmet guide, as well as our Andalusian gourmet walking tour!

Anne  Manson

Top 10 Things to do in Jerez – Other than Enjoy Sherry!

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sherry houseThe history of Sherry is rich. For starters it is one of the oldest wines in the world, introduced to Britain when notorious pirate Drake, plundered Cadiz and filled his decks with over 2000 barrels as a gift for his adored Queen Elizabeth 1st. But prior to all that, the Moors tended the chalky vineyards around their occupied city of Sherish and made their wine of present day Jerez.

For centuries, Britain was the main market for Sherry, sending their sons to oversee production- hence the many Anglicized names involved in the industry.

A sometimes forgotten fact is that Sherry can only be called Sherry if it is produced within the DO of Jerez- likewise, Champagne can only be Champagne if it’s produced within AC Champagne. In fact, established in 1933, Jerez claims to be the first recognized DO in Spain.

Fortification became part of the Sherry making process in an attempt to stabilize it during the journey north. And with fortification, the industry began to develop the different types of Sherry we know today.

But then Sherry went out of fashion. The darling of our grandparents but not of the next 2 generations as along came the world wide explosion of new fashioned wines. Wines from almost every corner of the globe. Trendy wines. Fashionable wines. But fashions die whilst the old stalwarts remain.

Thankfully recent years have seen a re- emergence of Sherry as a wine worthy of attention from some of the most renowned wine connoisseurs, chefs and media channels. Sherry can leap into your life and become an exciting voyage of discovery when you find out that not only is there a different type of Sherry for every food of the world ( this is no exaggeration!) but that Sherry is also entrenched in a glorious culture of music, horses and cuisine.

And then it happened – a massive nod from the rest of the wine fraternity in Europe – Jerez was selected as European Wine City 2014. An extra special time to visit might be during International Sherry Week from 2-8 June 2014 when the city will be filled with an even bigger buzz.

This is Jerez’s year and what better reason to head to this elegant and proud Andalucian city – a city synonymous with Sherry, Horses and Flamenco. Jerez is also a stepping stone to Costa de la Luz with its glorious beaches.

Top 10 Things to do whilst in Jerez:

1. Start the day with a leisurely walk through the Alcázar.

Standing tall is the La Cámara Oscura tower – projecting real time happenings on the streets of Jerez onto a huge convex dish. A spectacular guided tour for €3 – whist you stand still.

2. Visit as many bodegas as your time allows.

Gonzalez Byass, Lustau and Maestro Sierra are to name but a few. But one special one is Bodegas Tradicion. Here you will taste some of the oldest Sherry produced. Joaquín Rivero’s other passion is Spanish Art and viewing his private collection,although not advertised, forms part of the €18 tasting tour.

3. The Spanish Riding School may be in Vienna but the ROYAL Spanish Equestrian School is in Jerez.

Check which days you can marvel at this fabulous performance of supreme horsemanship. Normally, visits on Tuesdays and Thursdays are for the show. Booking at the Fundación Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre is essential.

4. Take the train to El Puerto de Santa Maria, one of the 3 towns of the Sherry triangle.

Here was the last fresh water stop for the likes of Christopher Columbus en route to the ocean blue. Bodegas Gutierrez Colosia is alongside this famous ocean channel. Here the father makes the Sherry, the mother markets it and the daughter tells you all about it. A tasting of 6 Sherries, 2 Brandies with accompanied snacks

5. Whilst in El Puerto, dine at Aponiente, regarded as one of the best restaurants in Spain.

Awarded a Michelin stared for his sheer innovativeness, Chef Angel Leon uses fish other restaurants reject. Indulge in fish caught by his own boat – so fresh it’s still wriggling upon arrival in his kitchen. Fish chorizo, squid risotto, sauces thickened with fish eyes, seaweed concentrates that are so dark they are almost black. Aponiente 12 course tasting menu, accompanied by 6 different Sherries.

6. Hop on the train to Cádiz

Once the wealthiest of all European cities and home to more Louis XV furniture than Paris., its prominence is now a faded memory but the charm of the old city with its 129 remaining merchant’s towers is a sight to behold. Los Gaditanos are known as the party animals of Spain. A wonderful restored market. Climb the cathedral bell tower to cast your eyes over the Bay of Cádiz, out of which Nelson lured the French and Spanish fleets to their demise at Trafalgar. Reward yourself with lashings of chilled Fino alongside Boquerones fritos and Tortallitas de Camarones in El Faro de Cadiz and homemade cake at Bar Quilla, overlooking the little boats at Playa la Caleta.

7. Take a cooking class to indulge your sense in the Tastes of Andalucia!

With a Certified Sherry Educator and Chef by your side, and the view of the sea directly cascading in front of you, enjoy a leisurely afternoon learning about Andalusian cuisine. While savoring a glass of Fino, you’ll prepare – and feast upon – local Ajo Blanco (refreshing cold garlic soup), Gambas Ajillo (garlic shrimp), Pescado a la Sal (salt baked fish) and ending with Orange and Almond cakes. Book your Andalusian Cooking Class!

8. Follow the delicious Ruta de los Tabancos trail

A relatively new trend in Jerez, these fabulous Tabancos/ Sherry bars serve Sherry directly from the cask (en Rama). There are 6 to check off your list: Tabanco El Pasaje, Tabanco La Bodega, Tabanco La Sureña, Tabanco Plateros, Tabanco San Pablo y Tabanco San Pedro. They all serve great Tapas and are within staggering distance of each other. Start with Fino, then Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Olorosso, and ending with Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez.

9. Explore the Dining Scene!

Dining in Jerez will not disappoint. It is a shining example for how the wine of an area is made to go with the food of the area. There is a Sherry to match every dish of Jerez. Here they cook with the Sherry they drink. A splash of Fino with fish. Amontillado with artichokes. Oloroso with beef cheeks. Cream with foie gras. PX for deglazing pans. When making a sofrito base for a paella, Fino gives such depth and a layer of flavour which brings out the best in the tomatoes and the added seafood. A glass of chilled Fino or Manzanilla is the perfect match for a chilled tomato Gazpacho. Similarly as the accompanying wine to Ajo Blanco (almond & garlic Gazpaho). All these fabulous dishes can be found amongst the array of top class restaurants in Jerez which we will be covering in a future post.

10. Visit the Mercado de Abastos in the centre of Jerez!

Boasting of one of the finest selections of fish outside the city of Cadiz, it’s from here  that the Jerezano chefs make their season selections.

A visit to Jerez might leave you in awe. When you add together the package of the wine, the gastronomy, the music,the history, the horses – you will appreciate how this almost sleepy corner of Andalusia has captured a hearty international following.

Don’t forget! Catavino also features a host of sherry wine and gastronomy tours in Andalucia! Take a moment to see what might tickle your fancy if you’re in town!

Anne Manson

Annie B’s Kitchen

Friday Feature Photo: Portuguese Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato

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Portuguese Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato

PhotographerRicardo Bernardo

Capture Date: March 5, 2011

Location: Seminário de Faro, Faro, Portugal

About: The photo was taken during an ALFA, Associação Livre Fotógrafos do Algarve, workshop which demonstrated the preparation of two traditional Portuguese dishes: Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato and Bacalhau à Conde da Guarda, a recipe from Mestre João Ribeiro.

This particular photo of Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato consists of: clams (Ruditapes decussatus), locally known as Amêijoa-boa, with coriander, garlic, a shot of white wine, olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.

Desktop Wallpaper: To download this image, simply right-click on the image and select “save link as” or “save target as”, then select the preferred location on your computer to save the photo.

Purchase: Please contact us directly if you’re keen to purchase any of Catavino Friday Photo images. Note that the images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.

Friday Featured Photo: Port Ganache and Chocolate

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Port and Chocolate

Photographer: Eddie Correia

Capture Date: February 14, 2008

Location: Algarve, Portugal

About: Dark chocolate and port is pairing of temptation. Each brings a unique profile of rich, sultry notes that pull you under a spell of warm mysterious deliciousness. These are flavours requiring time and patience. Time to warm and melt across the palate. Patience to breathe in and feel their textures and flavors expand and rise into the senses. They provide gateway to precious moments of sensory pleasure. Here the weather is warm, time passes slowly to allow moments and flavours to be enjoyed deeply and passionately, and when in good company, more so. Here enticement is woven into the fabric of our flavours, there is no plan to change, but we welcome you if you dare.

Desktop Wallpaper: To download this image, simply right-click on the image and select “save link as” or “save target as”, then select the preferred location on your computer to save the photo.

Purchase: Please contact us directly if you’re keen to purchase any of Catavino Friday Photo images. Note that the images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.