Weekend Coffee Share: The Are We There Edition

Well come on in, and welcome to my pied-a-terre in Lisbon. There’s a selection of teas and coffee, and left over pizza from lunch. Sorry no pasteis de nata today. But the conversation is good, so let’s start.

Wikipedia describes a pied-a-terre as “…a small living unit usually located in a large city some distance away from an individual’s primary residence.” 


Which brings me to the “are we there” part. I spent 15 hours yesterday getting here. I slept little on the flight to Frankfurt.

The flight from Frankfurt to Lisbon was 2.5 hours of clear air turbulence that led to the captain interrupting breakfast service. “Safety over service,” he said and I agree. I did eventually get my omelette and coffee.

The refrain in my mind was “are we there yet?” throughout most the trip.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I spent today with Che’s brother and his wife (who also happens to be my cousin, but don’t worry it’s all above board ;-))

It’s a rainy day in Lisbon
©2017 Regina Martins

It was a wet day today and I realised with trepidation that I may not be equipped to deal with the cold in Berlin with the clothes I bought with me. I may need to go shopping tomorrow…

I took the train to Parede to meet up with them, did a bit of family discussing and then went to Cascais Shopping for lunch. And to buy pillows. For me, as the ones in the flat are a bit hard and I woke up with a bit of a sore neck.

We have new neighbours in the building because I heard someone snoring through the wall, a sound I’d never heard before here. In any event…with being in Portugal I have forgotten what my week was like.

Pizza for lunch
©2017 Regina Martins

I remember that it was physically and mentally taxing. I was under a bit of stress with the upcoming trip. Before travelling I spend days agonising over how lightly I should travel, yet there are things that I simply must take with me – like my tech (check out my About Me page which describes what I mean).

As it turned out I packed lightly for my clothes (checked luggage) and am carrying a heavy load with my tech (carry on luggage)…

The rain has started again and it’s getting late. I don’t want to shoo you out the door, so here is a roundup of what I posted this week:

Photo Essay: Munich in Action

Mrs S’s Italian Sauce Recipe – you’ve simply got to make this! It’s delicious!

Green is my Favourite Colour

Gallery: Some Buildings in Commissioner Street

Arbitrary Randomness

See you next week, same time same place.

Have a good one!



Arbitrary Randomness

It’s springtime in Lisbon. The colours are vibrant as they always are. It’s also cold.

©2017 Regina Martins

Trees are in bloom.

©2017 Regina Martins

This staccato post is all I can muster today, after not blogging yesterday. I’ve been travelling from Johannesburg to Portugal and now I am here. I slept little on the plane and I’m about ready to drop off to sleep even though it is 16:21 here. Not because of jet lag because the time difference is only 2 hours. This is all because I didn’t sleep on the plane.

So please excuse me for now.

Sleep well.


Gallery: Some Buildings in Commissioner Street

I went to the CBD yesterday and took these pics of buildings in Commissioner street. It is sad to see some derelict buildings next to nice ones (I didn’t take photos of the derelict ones).

I especially love the mural at the entrance to the Rea Vaya bus station.

Click on any image to enlarge.


Green IS My Favourite Colour

Green is my favourite colour, and today I’m celebrating this with a green gallery. Click on any image to enlarge.

In response to WordPress weekly challenge – It IS Easy Being Green.


Mrs S’s Italian Sauce Recipe

After posting this pic on social media yesterday I got a few requests for the recipe. As I began writing down a recipe that has been handed down mostly experientially I got to reminiscing how it came to be part of my family’s food history.

Bumper crop of my folks’ tomatoes being turned into Italian sauce #italiansaucemadebyportuguesecook

A post shared by Regina Martins (@reginatmartins) on

These are my memories of that time, and names have been changed to protect the innocent. 

Mrs S was an Italian lady I met when I was a child. She taught my Mom how to make this sauce and it’s the only recipe we ever use. Mr S was my Dad’s employer, very rich, very very very fat, and had a mistress he openly and unashamedly ‘dated’.

Where Mrs S was matronly in appearance, the mistress (we’ll call her Donna G) was a blonde version of Sophia Loren. We got to meet both of them, not at the same time, although each lady knew of the other’s existence. Both ladies were friendly and pleasant to me.

I remember being quite confused by this situation, and I remember my folks explaining things to me in a way that my 9-year old self could understand.

Ok, back to the recipe…

Tomatoes galore – photo taken by my Mom
©2017 Regina Martins

My folks have a bumper crop of tomatoes this year. They’re growing all over the garden, amongst the flowers and bushes. I love the idea of a garden being both beautiful and edible, and my folks certainly have this.

The secret to this recipe is to layer or build the flavours and the simmering allows them to develop and deepen.

The longer it simmers the deeper the flavours allowing them to develop. The best sauces have simmered on a low heat for 1- 2 hours – this takes courage.

Mrs S’s Italian Sauce Recipe


Onions, lots, chopped

Tomatoes, lots (peel, pips and all), chopped coarsely or quartered or sixth’d if large (I used about 15 – 20 medium ones – see pic above)

Red paprika pepper – half a one – coarsely chopped

Red wine, to taste


Cracked black pepper

Sweet paprika powder, 1-2 tsp

Cumin powder, 1 tsp

Coriander powder, 1 tsp

Olive oil

Garlic to taste, chopped

Basil leaves – optional

A note on the onions - the more onions the better, thicker and tastier the sauce - I usually put between 3 and 6 large ones, white ones (never tried it with red, I’m sure it’s lovely).


  1. Chop the onions finely – I prefer using the food processor for this.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot (oil quantity, Jamie Oliver style, glug glug glug…). Once heated, add the coarsely chopped paprika pepper and the paprika powder, and turn the heat down slightly.
  3. Allow to soften a bit then add in the onions and stir to coat with the oil and paprika mixture (the oil will be a yummy reddish colour). Braise until soft.
  4. Add the cumin and coriander powder and mix. Coriander tends to absorb the oil, so keep an eye on this. Let fry for a minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes and garlic and mix well. Allow the flavour to develop for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the wine, salt and pepper. Stir well.
  7. Allow to simmer on a low heat for a looooong time.

Keep stirring every once in a while. If it starts to slightly stick to the pot (slightly, not burn), just stir it loose, this is part of the layering of flavour. Remember the courage bit.  Wine helps (drinking it, not adding more as this will just make the sauce too liquid. Drinking it on the other hand helps with the courage).

So when is it ready?

Italian sauce with fresh basil leaves from our garden
©2017 Regina Martins

At the end of the day it’s about what it tastes like to you. The moment it tastes yummy, it’s done. When done, stir in whole basil leaves.

I like to blend it to make the sauce into a smooth consistency. Leave chunky if you wish.

Tip: If the tomato is too acidic, add 1 tsp of sugar.

By far the most popular use of this sauce is over pasta and I confess that this is my favourite pasta dish of all time, plain, with lashings of parmesan cheese on top. Che and I will also be using it when we make pizza.

So there you have it!

Hope you enjoy it as much as I have cooking and especially eating it. Let me know how it turns out.

Feel free to Like or Share this recipe.