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Occasions to celebrate at the table

December 10, 2013 - 6:38pm

In Portugal, we enjoy sitting around a dinner table. We like to be eating and conversing around a big table full of friends and family, with a variety of dishes, sweets and wines. It’s not unusual for us to sit down at the table at lunchtime and still be there at 6 o’clock in the afternoon. We lunch, we snack and we have dinner in one extended sitting, with lots of conversation, laughter and perhaps even music and card games in between. That’s just who we are – we see every event as an occasion to gather around the table. Anything can be an excuse for a dinner, a lunch or an afternoon tea. All we need is someone to show up at our home and we start right away to set the table with whatever we have at the time. In addition to the pleasure of cooking, we love to have people around to celebrate and share with, and sometimes we need little more than bread and wine. So, allow me to share with you some simple recipes using bread as a basis. These are starters featuring typical Portuguese flavours that will taste even better if accompanied by a good Portuguese wine.



1 can of black-eyed peas / 2 cans of tuna in olive oil / olive oil / vinegar and fleur de sel to taste / ½ chopped onion / 2 tbsp of chopped parsley

200 g black olives / 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp. oregano / Olive oil, to taste

1 cured sheep’s or cow’s milk cheese / honey / bread and wine for serving


For the black-eyed peas salad, drain the can of peas well and empty into a bowl. Drain the tuna, break it up with a fork and add to the peas. Add the chopped onion and parsley. Then, add olive oil and vinegar. Mix salad thoroughly and let it rest 30 minutes before serving.

To make the seasoned olives, place the olives in a bowl and add the chopped garlic, dried oregano and olive oil. Mix the ingredients well and leave for a while before serving.

Then cut slices of bread and toast them lightly. While still hot, pour olive oil over the bread and season with the fleur de sel. (This is something similar to what is done at the olive oil presses to taste the new olive oil production. Normally the bread is toasted on a charcoal grill and served with freshly roasted salt cod!) Serve the seasoned olives and black-eyed peas salad on the bread slices.

Afterwards, cut some more slices of bread and place fine slices of cured cheese on them. Then, pour honey on the cheese and bread liberally and serve immediately. Bon appétit!


Canned tuna in olive oil / Olive oil / Vinegar / Fleur de sel / Olives / Cured sheep’s milk cheese / Cured cow’s milk cheese / Honey

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Salt cod, the iconic taste of Portugal

December 10, 2013 - 6:10pm

Salt cod (or bacalhau in Portuguese) is king in Portuguese cooking. It has been and continues to be a trusty friend that is always present on the Portuguese tables. Its versatility means that there are salt cod recipes for all occasions. There isn’t a feast or a special occasion in Portugal that does not feature salt cod in one form or other another. At Christmas, it is a must on many Christmas Eve supper tables throughout the country – served with the traditional cabbage, potatoes and boiled eggs. Certain ingredients go particularly well with salt cod: amongst them olive oil, garlic and bread. This fish is so versatile that you cannot tire of it, as it can be served with almost everything we can imagine. In Portugal, we have, after all, and at least, 1001 different ways of cooking salt cod. The recipe below combines salt cod with “carolino” rice (medium grain). This type of rice is cultivated in the Tagus, Sado and Mondego estuaries in Portugal. It is ideal for dishes in which the rice is there to absorb all the flavour of the other ingredients. In addition to salt cod, rice dishes are a hallmark of the Portuguese cuisine. To begin your journey of discovering the Portuguese cuisine, I would suggest this delicious salt cod with rice dish.

Salt Cod with rice

2 good chunks of salt cod | 320 g carolino rice | 1 dl olive oil | 1.5 dl white wine | 2 cloves of garlic | 1 bay leaf | 1 onion | 5 dl water or water in which the salt cod was cooked | 400 g broccoli in florets | Salt to taste


  1. Cook the salt cod in water. Keep the water for later, remove the skin and bones from the salt cod.
  2. In a pot, gently heat the onion, chopped garlic and bay leaf in olive oil until the onions are soft.
  3. Add the white mwine and some of the water in which the salt cod was cooked. Bring to the boil and then add the rice and reduce the heat.
  4. Season with salt as desired. Stir the rice whenever necessary.
  5. When rice is still cooking, add the broccoli florets (cut in half lengthwise) and the broken up salt cod. When the rice is cooked remove from heat and serve. The broccoli should be al dente.


Dreams Gourmet >  Airport Lisboa

Casa dos Sabores > Airport Faro
Olive oil / White wine / Salt

Portfolio > Airport Lisboa
Salt cod / Salt / White wine

Duty Free Store - Just for Travellers > Airport Lisboa, Porto, Faro and Azores
Olive oil / White wine / Salt cod

Sibarium > Airport Porto
Olive oil / White wine

“Heaven” here, so close

August 7, 2013 - 3:48pm

“Heaven” can be wherever you want it to be – you need not to be up in the clouds, on a deserted beach or in an idyllic setting to feel good, relax and take care of yourself.

Meditation can be the key to being able to attain a Zen-like state and shut out the world around you, if only for a few seconds. If you do Yoga, try to remember the breathing exercises that you practice in class. Breathe deeply and slowly through your nostrils, exhaling all the toxins, stresses and negative thoughts that have been flooding your mind lately.

You can also make each moment an opportunity to pamper yourself. In fact, “heaven” can be where we want it to be, and every second can be a fantastic occasion for us to become even more beautiful.
Would you like an example? It is easier than you think.

All you need to have with you is a facial mask, a good eye cream and a moisturiser for your hands. Ideally you would also have some micellar water or a wipe with you so you can conveniently cleanse your face before you apply the facial mask.

Here is how you do it: cleanse your face (it is important to remove any make-up you may be wearing) and begin applying the facial mask. Apply just a little, but enough to allow your skin to effectively absorb the product. While you are applying the mask, take a moment to apply a little eye cream to this delicate part of the face, and don’t forget your hands.


Put a generous amount of the product on each hand, and gently massage your hands while you relax.

If you are carrying music with you, listen to calm and relaxing tunes from your playlist. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Water is the key to keeping your body and skin perfectly hydrated and preventing the dehydration that the flight and the environment on board the aircraft can cause.

Before boarding, take an opportunity to visit the airport shops. There you will find a wide range of moisturizing facial masks, as well as eye creams and good hand moisturizers.

In addition to a great variety of products, you will find the prices very reasonable and you can be sure that you will make some good purchases!

beleza_miniatura.jpgTake advantage of the opportunity to stock up on summer essentials! From pre-sun supplements with anti-ageing properties, to tan-activating creams, to sunscreens. It is important to keep in mind that, whatever your destination, you must be careful about sun exposure and always protect yourself with the right sun protection factor (SPF) for your skin type.

At this time of the year, it is also important to regularly exfoliate the skin of your face and body to ensure that it is free of dead cells and better prepared to take in the sun. After spending time in the sun, your skin needs to be well moisturised with special after-sun creams that ensure that your skin fully recovers.

Wherever you go, don’t forget to put some make-up on! Even if you only use mascara, a colourful nail polish or a touch of lipstick, it is important to feel comfortable and feminine.

Finish everything off with a little perfume – when the weather is hot, colognes are the ideal solution for perfuming yourself with a soft scent!

Above all, feel good and be beautiful!

Mónica Lice
Blogger and image consultant, author of “Mini-Saia”

Head in the clouds, feet in the shops

August 5, 2013 - 6:00pm

Living in Lisbon, where the airport is practically in the heart of the city, it’s impossible to not think of travel all the time. More often than not, I find myself looking up to the sky imagining where that plane above me (I have to admit I’m not so good at identifying airline logos, my bad) is heading. I like to think about who is on it, what the destination is, and who might be waiting at the other end. And every single time I drive along the ring road that passes by the airport I catch myself glancing upwards, with a sigh of longing, and thinking about when my next visit will be.

There’s always a good reason for being in an airport. Either we are flying off somewhere or have just landed; or are picking someone up or have come to see someone else off. All good situations, but travelling is the best feeling of all. Arriving brings a certain comfort and opening arms to welcome loved ones warms our hearts.

Saying goodbye to someone leaving is, perhaps, the hardest. It can hurt, but if it’s all for the best, then may they go in grace. We will be here when they return. An airport has the capacity to make us dream, to fire our imagination, to make us think of places and people. It really does leave us with our heads in the clouds. And I have always loved the whole rigmarole involved: getting there on time (I have only ever missed on plane, and I swear it was not my fault), checking in and finding out which seat I will have (please, not the last row, not the last row!), watching my bags disappear on the conveyor and praying to every single saint that they arrive at my destination, getting through security (again saying a little prayer under my breath that they don’t find anything suspicious in my hand luggage) and, finally, relaxing.

Now it’s time to stock up on newspapers and magazines for the journey, grab a bite and, of course, have a stroll through the shops, which are many and increasingly attractive. A shopaholic worthy of the name can shop anywhere, including an airport, where fantastic shops abound. And for someone, like me, who gets the shakes every time they board a plane, those relaxing moments before take-off time are so rewarding.

So off I go, flitting from Accessorize, to FNAC and to L’Occitane, to name just a few. You can never be sure you have everything for your trip. And whilst, up to now, dragging the hubby along has proven to be a challenge (he usually prefers to sit down and read a newspaper while I go on my shopping expedition), now I have something I can lure him with. Lisbon Airport has just welcomed the first Victoria’s Secret shop in the Iberian Peninsula! Yes, that’s right, that brand with the jaw-dropping lingerie designs and catwalk shows that delight both women and men alike. I have a sneaky feeling that men won’t be complaining about airport shopping so soon again. They will gladly come along with an eager smile on their face and will be the first to say “buy it”! One more reason to love the airport. Your head may be in the clouds, thinking of your destination. But your feet are still firmly on the ground, as is your purse or wallet. So you might as well make the most of it!

Ana Garcia Martins
Blogger and author of “Pipoca Mais Doce”

Beauty Portuguese Style

November 27, 2012 - 4:53pm
"Look at the women around you! Can you tell where they are from? Are they African, American, Asian or European? The answer may well lie in their facial features..."

In this whirlwind of people arriving and departing we can probably detect where they are from, but it is not so easy to work out their approach to beauty care!

Although trends are becoming more and more universal, thanks to the way the new technologies unite the world with a single click, there are distinct differences in beauty care. These are not as insignificant as one might expect. For example, tests and studies reveal that Europe and the United States show the highest consumption of anti-ageing cosmetics. In Asian countries, fighting pigmentation spots plays a fundamental role in beauty care. European women are much more practical and give priority to a versatile product which, if possible, treats all the signs of ageing. It is therefore possible to find various products on the market that are intended for overall anti-ageing care. How about Portuguese women? What are their concerns and how do they behave in terms of beauty? The first word that springs to mind is wrinkles, but this is not actually the case. In fact the major national poll on beauty habits conducted by Clinique and Eurosondagem in 2007 revealed that the main skin problem for Portuguese women was age spots (28.7%), ahead of the (inevitable) lines and wrinkles (24.8%).

This concern, which affects women of all ages and ethnicities, may seem strange at first but it is less so when we consider the sun that Portugal is lucky enough to be blessed with almost all year round. So in order to prevent the “cursed” age spots, sunscreen must come top of the list for any woman, whether Portuguese or not.

Whatever your nationality (or sex) it is important to bear this concern in mind and use adequate sunscreen throughout the year, come rain or come shine. If you do not already do so, think now about starting to use a daily face cream with a high sun protection factor and thus ensure effective protection against UVA and UVB rays. You can also, if you wish, continue to use your daily moisturiser and apply a sunscreen above or below it. As to the order in which you apply both products, many specialists advocate applying the sunscreen first, especially when it is chemical. If it is chemical (i.e. contains either oxybenzone or avobenzone), it must be applied on clean skin so that it is absorbed efficiently by the skin and can produce all its effects in terms of protection. If the sunscreen is physical (i.e. contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide), it can be used at the end, over the serum and cream.

Now that you have learned the tips it is time to put them in practice! Touch up on your sunscreen or, if you are not yet wearing one, take advantage of the last minutes before boarding to find the most suitable one for you in the airport Duty Free Store – Just For Travellers!

Because beauty care has no nationality!

Mónica Lice
Blogger and image consultant
Author of “Mini-Saia” (

Two sides of the same journey

June 28, 2012 - 12:55pm

Every time I enter an airport , whether leaving or returning, this song by Maria Rita echoes in my head. In fact it’s about a railway station but I think it applies just as well to an airport. Because for me that’s what an airport is – a place for meeting and saying goodbye.

I like to think of the story behind each person. I like to think of who is waiting and who is going. I like the kisses and embraces of the arrival, and even the departure tears. I like to imagine who is going where, to do what and with whom. I like to think of who is waiting. I like the meetings and missed meetings that happen every day in the airports of the outside world.

I always remember the story of a friend of mine who ran into a former lover at the airport. She was arriving and he was leaving. A chat for a few minutes, amid the rush and the suitcases, was enough for them to realise that the relationship wasn’t over after all. They got married and now they have a child. If they hadn’t run into one another on that day at the airport they would probably have carried on their separate lives without hearing anything about each other.

I like the airport. I like the joy of leaving, the anxiety, the rush, the time when you get rid of the heavy cases, the prospect of spending a few days somewhere else. But I also like the feeling of calm when I return, catching sight of Lisbon from up above and feeling that I’m coming home.

It’s great to be leaving, but there’s nothing like coming back. And, as Maria Rita says, “they’re just two sides of the same journey”.

Ana Garcia Martins
Blogger, author of “A Pipoca Mais Doce” (

The cosmetics of the future

June 28, 2012 - 12:23pm
Where will cosmetics fly in pursuit of greater and better results? In an era in which boundaries are smaller and smaller and easier to surpass, the question makes more and more sense.

In fact, when we analyse all the developments that cosmetics have undergone in recent decades, one might think that each year every brand invests solely and exclusively in new products.

Yet that’s not quite how it is. Just think of the serum – one of the products that has registered the most patents in recent years. Every year we have new serums, more potent and precise than their predecessors, which promise to go to the root of the problem and solve it in a few weeks. However, if we look at the first serum to be launched on the market, Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, we can see that although it is 30 years old it is nearly 100% faithful to what it was when it was first launched in 1982.

After the launch, what was then the Night Repair Cellular Recovery Complex was reformulated in 1990, and became known as the Advanced Night Repair Protective Recovery Complex. In 2009, this was also reformulated and renamed the Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex. Contrary to what one might think, these minor reformulations and their packaging with a vintage touch are still popular, and it is no accident that eight bottles are sold every minute all over the world. Incredible, isn’t it?

No less incredible are the advances we see alongside the “classics”. Glycobiology, for example, (a science that studies the glycans which are present on the surface of cells and are responsible for their attachment), has recently been applied to cosmetics by Yves Saint Laurent Skinscience. This union produced the new FOREVER YOUTH LIBERATOR range, which has already arrived in Portugal. Its main element is an active ingredient, Glicanoactif TM (patented by YSL), which “loosens” the cells and launches a kind of message of youth so that the skin regenerates much faster than normal.

This results in a smoother, brighter and more unified skin, making wrinkles and expression lines less creased and visible. Make-up products are no less innovative, and colour has long ceased to be the only aspect that is taken into account. Today, for example, a foundation has to include treatment. It is not enough to cover up blemishes and improve the complexion – it is also necessary to treat pimples and spots, protect the skin from ultraviolet rays, moisturise it and treat and prevent the appearance of wrinkles. If it can accomplish a number of these things, so much the better!

The same applies to mascara, which must elongate eyelashes, preferably making them thicker and with added volume. The mascara also has to protect the lashes, help them to grow, prevent them from falling out, and so forth.

In this make-up kit, not even lipsticks are untouched by innovation. Nowadays, besides colouring the lips, they also have to hydrate them, give them volume and, if possible, rejuvenate them. With all this technology, you can be sure that advances in the field of cosmetics are carried out with you in mind. They are tailor-made for your needs! So when you walk through perfume and cosmetic shops at airports, take the opportunity to admire the latest range of these products – feel them at the time (and later on) on your face and body and (who knows?) on your lips and eyelashes!

Mónica Lice
Blogger and image consultant Author of ‘Mini-Saia’ (mini-skirt)  (

The Future on Your Skin!

December 16, 2011 - 11:42am

Look around you! You’re sure to see  dozens, even hundreds of people. Now take a close look at these people’s skins and try to find two people with the same skin. It’s difficult, isn’t it?

In fact, although we were all born with what’s commonly called “baby skin”, each skin undergoes various transformations that make it more or less aged, regard-less of our gender, ethnicity, birthplace or lifestyle. Various factors have a direct or indirect influence on our skin type.

Diet, for example, can have quite a strong influence on skin by making it more or less oily, with more or fewer eruptions. We don’t know for sure that chocolate causes pimples, but it is already proven that  certain dietary intolerances lead to skin problems that are very difficult to resolve other than by eliminating certain foods from our diet.

On the other hand, along with hormonal issues, there is no doubt that the sun is a key factor in whether the future of our skin is more or less “smiley”.  In this context it’s interesting to look at tests carried out by cosmetic brands that compared the skin of American twin sisters living in different parts of the United States. These showed that the sister who lived in a constantly sunny place had a much more aged and blemished skin than the other sister who lived in an area without much sun.

Another risk factor is tobacco, which  results in the early onset of wrinkles. Stress, lack of physical exercise, excessive alcohol consumption and the failure to follow facial treatment routines can be added to the list.

For all these reasons it is up to you to  decide, right now, on the future you want for your skin! Protect yourself from the sun  every day by using a daily moisturiser with a high sun protection factor. Stop smoking and try to eliminate stress from your life. Adopt a healthy lifestyle by changing your diet and starting to take 30 minutes of physical  exercise every day (walking around the  airport also counts for this).

Finally, get started today on a daily facial treatment routine: cleanse thoroughly, moisturise and protect! Use the most suitable products for your skin type, and if you don’t have them already, take  advantage of the last few minutes before boarding your plane to purchase them in the nearest Duty Free shop!

Remember – the future of your skin is  basically up to you!

Mónica Lice
Blogger and image consultant Author of ‘Mini-Saia’ (mini-skirt)  (

The Future Ever So Close

December 9, 2011 - 12:42pm

In the old science fiction movies, of which I’m not a great fan (I’ve never seen ‘Star Wars’, but don’t throw sticks and stones), they were always imagining how the future would be in the year 2000. Everything always seemed ultramodern and spectacular.

For example, everyone had their own spacecraft, everyone could tele-port themselves between galaxies, everyone lived on pills (well, in fact that part isn’t completely untrue), It was all so wonderfully easy. The problem is that the year 2000, and 2010 too, have come and gone, and all the forecasts seem to have been way off the mark. We only fly by plane, and even then it’s shared, we’re still a long way from having a plane for each person (which was meant to be ‘parked’ on the roof or by the front door). And we haven’t yet managed to condense fish and chips or Irish stew into a little pill. In other words, nothing for me to worry about.

If only because I think we’re living in a time in which nothing can surprise us. If they tell me that in ten years’ time we’ll be walking upside-down I don’t think it’s anything strange, it’s just another trend. And if I could come back to Earth in a thousand years’ time, I wouldn’t find it odd that there were robots levitating or anything like that. As regards what’s really important for me, I’m much more a person of the past than the future. I’m interested in the little things that are disappearing, and I spend my life reliving memories.

I think of people, journeys, places, smells, music. I like to think about the old times. Those that I lived through, and the others, those of long ago. I’m even like that with fashion. I much prefer the retro styles to the futurist ones. But of course we can’t ignore the future, if only because that’s where we’re heading every second. I like to think that despite all the modern fads in front of us, there’s a lot that will make life easier.

For example, ultrasonic aircraft that take us from Lisbon to New York in about seven seconds. Wardrobes that open every day with looks tailor-made according to the weather and our mood. That would be really wonderful. I can hardly wait for such a future.

Ana Garcia Martins
Blogger, author of “A Pipoca Mais Doce” (

Have you taken care of yourself today?

June 8, 2011 - 10:48am

After we’ve “taken care” of your inner well-being, even though only for a few seconds, it’s time to analyse the outer you – how’s your beauty care going? Do you pamper yourself enough to feel well and look even better?

To start with, what care do you take of yourself and your skin? Besides healthy living habits, which must include a good diet and physical exercise, it’s important to take care of your skin: cleansing, toning and moisturising – three seemingly simple steps, but really important for healthy skin.

These steps must be combined with other specific measures for each need. For example, if you have very sensitive skin the products you use must take account of this. Depending on your skin and what it’s been subjected to in the past, you can and must think about preventing wrinkles and expression lines, or else improve the appearance of the existing ones, if that’s the case.

Exfoliate your skin once a week (at least), taking care of the area around your eyes by using a special product, always removing the make-up from your skin at night and protecting it from the sun during the day (all year round) are just some of the other things you must take care to do.

After this short list of steps to take, think again and compare them with what you usually do every day. If you reach the conclusion that you aren’t taking enough care to preserve your skin and beauty, then it’s time to make a change! Use the remaining minutes before you board the plane and run to the airport shops. There you will find the products you require, according to the needs of your skin, at very attractive prices! If you can, use also the special-size travel versions at equally special prices.

And never forget to smile – a smile on your face is the first step to becoming more beautiful.

Mónica Lice
Blogger and image consultant
Author of ‘Mini-Saia’ (mini-skirt) (

The Fascination of Shopping

June 8, 2011 - 10:09am

As son as I’ve got past the airport metal detectors, my heart starts racing. First, because it means I’ve passed with distinction without being beeped from all sides and having my conditioner confiscated. Second, because I’m ready to board and I’m not exactly a woman who loves not having the ground beneath her feet. Third, and best of all, because I’ve got so many shops to look around.
My husband, who likes sitting right by the departure gate and staying there until it’s time to leave, starts rolling his eyes with impatience as soon as we go up the escalator and I turn off from our route. I tell him it’s “just a quick look around”, “in there and out”, “I won’t be a moment, I swear”. And there I go, skipping merrily between a Bimba y Lola, a Carolina Herrera or an Adolfo Dominguez, among others.
I may even be about to leave for one of the world’s great fashion capitals where you can get everything and more besides, but shopping is shopping and you should never, ever, miss an opportunity.
That must be why I’m the only person in the world who complies with the rule of being at the airport two hours before the flight. It’s not that I’m afraid of being stranded or even that I’m a highlyn law-abiding person – it’s just that I need some time to go round the shops, buy all the magazines and so on or have something to eat. Basically I need things that entertain me.
There are some people who enjoy spending endless hours watching aeroplanes take off and land. I am a big fan of bags, clothes and shoes. We all have our foibles.
What’s more, the shops have a calming effect on me, which is perfect for someone who is afraid of flying (panic, dread!) in an aeroplane. Well that’s as good an excuse as any, isn’t it?

Ana Garcia Martins
Blogger, author of “A Pipoca Mais Doce” (