Today is Portugal’s national day, celebrated on the anniversary of its greatest poet, Luís de Camões. It’s a country whose influence and reach far outweighs its size.
For example, it’s estimated that around 250 million people around the world speak the Portuguese language each day. The Portuguese culture can be felt as far afield as Goa and Galle (India and Sri Lanka), Angola (from whence the famous peri-peri chicken originates) and of course Macau in China, which was a Portuguese colony for over 400 years.
What do you think of when you think of Portugal?
It occupies a sort of “look out” position on the western edge of Europe. It’s a great launching pad too, and so it makes sense that Portugal has a tradition and culture of exploration. I’ve been thinking: if toddlerhood were a country, it would be Portugal, defined by ongoing attempts to discover new things and push boundaries. We’re feeling that around here.
And so in the spirit of cross-pollinating these two ideas, today I made a toddler-friendly Portuguese dessert called Arroz Doce, which is a rich, very sweet, custardy rice pudding.
I sought traditional recipe guidance from Portugese Girl Cooks and Family Foodie and I added some seasonal fruit for a personal touch. (After my success with roasting plums, I decided to roast some persimmons with cinnamon to use as a garnish for my Arroz Doce and it went with the lemony rice dish very nicely).
My family was very happy to have this Portuguese influence sail into our house.
(Meanwhile, check out the traditional method of transporting children shown in the photo below! Must try.)