Silver Travel Cook Club - May 2020

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Silver Travel Cook ClubEmerald Waterways

The Silver Travel Cook Club hopes that you’re all coping with the current challenging environment, and that travel will be back in everyone’s mind for 2021. Eating, however, remains on the agenda.

This month’s Silver Travel Cook Club features a classic recipe for Portuguese Custard Tarts – ‘Pastéis de Nata, courtesy of sponsor Emerald Waterways and inspired by their 8-day Secrets of the Douro holiday.

And you could win an Emerald Waterways goody bag and a copy of Classic Recipies of Portugal.

Douro river Regua vineyardsA symbol of Portugal’s growth as a nation, the Douro has long been the country’s lifeline. Leaving the pastel-coloured metropolis of Porto, venture through the enchanting Douro valley, with its stunning terraced vineyards rising from the riverbank and historic landmarks peppering the distant horizon. Explore charming townships en-route to the beautiful Spanish city of Salamanca, fondly known as the ‘golden city’, and have a chance to explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old quarter, which has an illustrious past, having been held by the Carthaginians, Romans and Moors.

Over eight insightful days, you will discover the stunning vineyards of Pinhao during a guided walk, enjoy a superb private dinner at a traditional rural wine estate whilst in Regua, and have the opportunity to join Port wine cocktail making and Portuguese tile making lessons on board Emerald Radiance. You can even choose to take to the water with a guided canoeing experience during your time in Pocinho.

Emerald Waterways Radiance in Porto

Departure dates and pricing:

  • 8-day Secrets of the Douro with Emerald Waterways departs from April to November 2021.
  • Prices from £1,770 per person when booked before 31 May 2020.
  • Save up to £500 per couple and enjoy £200 per cabin to spend on board, on additional holiday treats. In addition, choose to pay your balance in full by 31 October 2020 and save an extra £250 per couple. Terms and conditions apply.

Recipe: Emerald Waterways’ Portuguese Custard Tarts – ‘Pastéis de Nata’

Ingredients (makes 12 individual tartlets):

  • 1 large whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks (large)
  • 115g golden castor sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 400ml full fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry


Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin and pre-heat oven to 200C (180C fan) or gas mark 6.

Add the egg, yolks, sugar & cornflour to a cold pan and mix together. Gradually add the milk until mixture is well mixed and smooth.

Portugese custard tartPlace pan on medium heat and stir constantly until mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Remove pan from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Put custard in a bowl to cool and cover with cling film to prevent a skin from forming.

Cut the pastry sheet into two pieces and place them on top of each other. Roll the pastry tightly, from the short side, into a log and cut the log into 12 even sized rounds.

On a lightly floured board, roll each round into a disc shape (approx. 10cm) and press the pastry discs into the muffin tin.

Spoon in the cooled custard and bake for 20-25mins until golden on top. Leave to cool in the tin for 5mins, then move to a cooling rack to cool.

Emerald Waterways goodie bagWin Emerald Waterways goody bag and a copy of Classic Recipes of PortugalHow to win an Emerald Waterways goody bag and a copy of Classic Recipes of Portugal

With the current lockdown situation, what are you enjoying cooking? Do you have a favourite home-cooked dish inspired by a past travel adventure? Please tell us in the Comments section below. We’d love to hear, and the best entry will win a super Emerald Waterways goody bag and a copy of this Classic Recipes of Portugal book which may give you some fresh inspiration.

Read more about all of our Silver Travel Cook Club recipes.


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Other Members' Thoughts - 22 Comment(s)

  • ClaireS
    over 1 year ago
    I took my niece to Lisbon for a treat. (She was 12 at the time, now 24).

    We ordered pizzas for lunch. I had tuna and black olives on mine. She wasn't very impressed, with my choice, because she said she didn't like tuna or olives.

    I told her, 'this isn't tuna from the tin, this is fresh tuna, it was probably swimming in the sea yesterday'.

    Eventually I managed to persuade her to try a mouthful of my pizza. Her reaction was 'Mmmmmm yummy'.

    Then she 'Auntie Claire why don't we swap pizza slices, you can have half of my pizza, and I could have half of yours'. The little minx.

    I still smile when I think of it now.
  • Sararose
    over 1 year ago
    Our first campervan holiday was in Portugal and we really enjoyed Cataplana which is Portuguese clams and pork. It seemed a strange combination but we loved it and I have cooked it regularly at home. It brings back happy memories.
  • SilverTravelEditor
    over 1 year ago
    Thanks for all the mouth-watering comments in response to this month's Silver Travel Cook Club challenge. You're clearly a well-travelled lot, and enjoying cooking dishes at home during lockdown that have been inspired by past travel adventures.

    @Wendywu - efharisto, you transported me back to the mountains of Zagori, enjoying spanakopita in a remote Ottoman-era village. Hopefully you'll be able to get some feta here again soon, but in the meantime I love the sound of your cheesy potato and spinach alternative. Yum!

    Please keep the tasty comments flowing...there is still a week left to be in with a chance of winning a copy of 'Classic Recipes of Portugal' by telling us about your favourite home-cooked dish during lockdown, inspired by a past travel adventure.

    Good luck...and let's hope we can create some new foodie travel memories soon.
  • Patnic
    over 1 year ago
    I've rediscovered baking so tried banana bread, scones and lemon drizzle cake. Would normally be going to Italy in June but obviously not this year so looking up some nice recipes to recreate what we'll be missing.
  • reidy
    over 1 year ago
    Should be on a Greek island cruise now, so we had a virtual sail away with keftedes, tzatziki, greek salad, .Greek delight and Ouzo....and of course greek music.
  • Hotrod
    over 1 year ago
    Bread had been a new experiment. It was difficult to buy flour, so spelt flour was brought and used. It makes amazing bread and have added lots of flavours, such as herbs, seeds, turmeric and cheese.
  • Wendywu
    over 1 year ago
    I used to live in Greece many years ago and enjoy making spinach and feta cheese filled filo pastries - so easy with ready-rolled filo! However, it has been hard getting feta during lockdown. I'm lucky enough to live near a cheese farm though and a daily walk gets me some sheep or goats cheese which I cook with potatoes, spinach, onions and raw milk to make something that tastes even better - rather like dauphinoise potatoes with spinach and cheese.
  • Stephaniee
    over 1 year ago
    I love cooking and have Tried different recipes lately with what I can find in the cup board.
    I first tried the pastas de nata in Hong Kong. My son lived next door to the shop where the ones that were Christ Patten’s favourites, when he was governor of Hong Kong, favourites were made. I would go out every morning and buy a couple for my breakfast. I was there again in January this year and walked across the city to buy them again.
  • office3342
    over 1 year ago
    Treat meal is chateaubriand- memories of an amazing meal in Turkey where we first enjoyed it together
  • Easyliving
    over 1 year ago
    We visited Lisbon as the last port of call on a Mediterranean cruise and whilst wandering through this wonderful city came across Pastéis de Belém - the best place to eat Portuguese custard tarts. We had a box packed up for us, refrigerated on the ship and took them home.... 'this is not just a custard tart .. this is a Pastéis de Belém Custard tart'.
  • sefalleyne
    over 1 year ago

    When I visited Portugal we ate a custard tart every day. Have been making them at home ever since but cannot match the real thing.
  • GrannyCR
    over 1 year ago
    Croissants for the first time!
  • Marrion
    over 1 year ago
    A few years ago, when my husband was with me.....we went on a Douro River Cruise, with a week afterwards staying in a hotel on the beach.

    The food both on the boat and in the hotel were 5 star standard, and we loved the country too. The thing that struck us the most was, that at the beach hotel, and the local people in the shops and walking on the beach were exceptionally friendly, and very helpful when we got lost on our walks from time to time.

    We said we would take another trip to Portugal in the future, but sadly it was not to be.
  • you
    over 1 year ago
    No problems cooking during lockdown, as my diet is mainly [uncooked] fruit and veg
  • Kelpie
    over 1 year ago
    I loved the food and the people and the country when we visited Portugal.
  • Ozdevon
    over 1 year ago
    During a cruise on the Douro some years ago the chef demonstrated cooking Bacalhau á Brás. Salted cod, potato, onion, eggs, olives, wine (of course) etc. Every time I eat it I am transported back to Portugal. Such lasting memories.
  • SilverTravelEditor
    over 1 year ago
    Thanks for these first comments on this month's Silver Travel Cook Club cook book and prize challenge.

    @DRSask - I wished I lived near you! Everything you're baking sounds brilliant, but as I write this I'm especially drooling at the thought of your 'upside down apple walnut cornmeal cakes'! Recipe please....or is it an old family secret?

    @GBG - tapas is such a civilised way to eat, isn't it! What are your favourite eat in Spain, and to make at home?

    @LynetteH - what a lovely image you paint of your Moroccan-inspired tagine. 'The memories are in the aromas' - very evocative!

    @Rowsie - there are some surprising small benefits from lockdown, aren't there? How lovely to be remembering your old friend through such interesting, healthy recipes.

    Please keep those travel-inspired home-cooking ideas coming to be in with a chance to win a copy of Classic Recipes of Portugal, and a goody bag from Silver Travel Cook Club sponsor Emerald Waterways.
  • Rowsie
    over 1 year ago
    Many many years ago a friend in America sent me a vegetarian cookbook (The Moosewood Cook Book) and in the lock down I have rediscovered it whilst decluttering my kitchen cupboards and I am once again enjoying such recipes as Mushroom Moussaka. Eggplant Parmesan and Cauliflower Cheese Pie. My friend died quite a while ago so it is nice to remember her and cook some old favourites.
  • LynetteH
    over 1 year ago
    Our favourite homecooked meal would have to be cooking any Moroccan influenced tagine. We sailed on our first cruise around the Canary island with a stop over in Morocco where we enjoyed a journey across the landscape and the final stop was to visit a hidden house to watch the locals preparing our banquet. The experience was lovely. And the food was fabulous. So as soon as we returned home we looked into cooking our own tagine meals for ourselves and if they are lucky our neighbours and friends. The memories are in the aromas.
  • GBG
    over 1 year ago
    I love to cook Spanish food and during lockdown have been making tapas and paella to remind us of happy holidays there. I would love the Portuguese cookery book as I have not cooked Portuguese food at home but I have enjoyed the food of the country when we visited.
  • DRSask
    over 1 year ago
    I've been doing a lot of cooking and baking. In fact, there's a 200 year old flour mill just north of town that has hired additional staff to keep up with demand - from the area, not me lol. Mostly I'm cooking old favourites that are comfort food and remind me of my mother - cottage pie, meatballs and spaghetti with mushroom sauce. I've also baked banana blueberry muffins, thumbprint cookies, upside down apple walnut cornmeal cakes and raisin and cranberry oatmeal cookies. Good thing there's lots of cleaning and walking to do as well!
  • jaxb
    over 1 year ago
    We have managed to get hold of flour today, after weeks of covid-19 induced shortages. Ready for all cooking inspiration!