Portuguese Treasure Revisited

Previously I posted an item about a rice cooker which I found on a visit to Lisbon ( Portuguese Treasure ), however, earlier this year while staying on the Algarve in Olhao I found an even more strange and wonderful kitchen utensil, namely this:

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As those of you who have visited Portugal and tasted their wonderful pastries will know many of these scrumptious morsels have egg yolks as one of their main ingredients; the reason for which dates back to when the nuns in the convents ran laundries and white linens were “starched” with egg whites leaving an abundance of egg yolks remaining for baking!

KG180804607aWeb1Beaten eggs yolks are put in the can and poured into a hot sugar solution to create fine threads of egg called fios de ovos. Apparently the pouring technique is an acquired skill!  Thanks to Portugal’s colonial history fios de ovos is found in many  other parts of the world including Japan (keiran somen), Cambodia (vawee), India (muttamala), Thailand (foi thong), Spain (huevo hilado) and elsewhere, when is often simply called angel hair.

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After buying the initial rice cooker I managed to order three more and used them to create a lighting feature in the corner of the kitchen while still having one spare to use as a prop; needless to say this has yet to happen.

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Portuguese Treasure

One of the really great things about being a food and drink photographer is that you have absolute carte blanche to collect any and all items of kitchen paraphernalia that you might come across. Even if an item has no immediate use you can always argue that it will definitely be invaluable as a prop in some as yet unspecified photo shoot! These magpie like tendencies go into overdrive as soon as I find myself in a foreign country and the size of my suitcase combined with the pitiful weight allowance that we are granted these days are the only things which keep my collecting within, what others might call, reasonable proportions. Without doubt the most interesting and possibly cryptic thing that I brought back from my recent trip to Lisbon Continue reading