Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article 1 - Since the signing of this treaty, the island of Madeira and it's dependencies will be delivered to the commanders of His British Majesty's forces and to be maintained by His Majesty with the same rights, privileges and jurisdiction as the Portuguese Crown has had until now.»
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Last month I went to the battle re-enactment of Vimeiro, where I was given this small sweet pastry cake called “Peninsular”. I was told that the name was given in honor of the victory of the allies over the Peninsular Wars. But you know me; this type of information only makes me investigate further, even if only a bit.
In the past I have written about convent sweets (and you can get more infos about that on the referring post). This cake I ate belongs in that category.
I have found, on Facebook, a page dedicated to this pastry and have asked more about it. This was the answer (translated roughly):
These pastéis come from a convent recipe, that in the past was given to a lady of Vimeiro, that started to commercialize them under the name “Peninsulares”, with registered trade mark since 1949. The name/brand “Peninsulares” is a homage to the Battle of Vimeiro (21st of August of 1808) in which the Portuguese and Allies (British) defeated the still invincible Napoleonic troops.
With best regards,
So, there you have an easy answer to where this pastry comes from and which brings me to another question: the civilian access to convent recipes. This access has to do with an interesting historical fact: the extinction of the religious orders in Portugal.
I have referred that after the French Invasions and the return of power to the Portuguese Crown in 1820, Portugal went into a civil war. Well, it ended in 1834 with the signing of the Convention of Évora Monte in that same year. In that same convention it is stated that all religious orders are therefore abolished and all their belongings are now public and belong to the state.
We must not forget that Portugal was an extremely catholic country (I have written about it) and the number of religious orders was enormous. All of them, of course, shared the national wealth, since was so in the past Monarchies where there was no separation of powers. This situation had become so vast, that some attempts were made to reduce them by the famous Marquis of Pombal. Unfortunately, he only abolished those who stood in his path, like the Jesuits. But laws of stopping the creation of religious orders had appeared in the late 17th century.
Of course, the extinction of religious orders in the Convention of 1834 meant that who won the civil war were the liberals, those who wanted a Constitution (a prelude to Republicanism).
It is not like the nuns and monks were now thrown out of their orders, but the law stated that they shouldn't admit anymore novices. It was also stated that the orders that didn't had any income could receive a state pension. This whole situation only became regulated in the 1860's.
Well, I guess that means that making sweets and selling them could have been a source of income and later, in the next century, many of the those recipes became public. From here to the access of the many cookery books was just a small step, making it possible for many talented ladies to start their own businesses in sweet pastry and dessert making. But I will have to find a book on this matter to state more facts on it.
Pictures taken by me.
And sitting on the train home, I couldn't resist them anymore. The smell of roasted almond flour and heavy sugar (perhaps even molasses) was to big to resist.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
2) The alliance between Portugal and the United Kingdom is not well seen by the Spaniards who favor Napoleon (to understand this we have to go back in time and analyse the War of the Oranges), which weakens our political relations, even in the attempt of Neutrality. It is the alliance with Spain that allows the French to cross the Pyrenees and not much is done to stop the Napoleonic Expansion. The Portuguese King (then still Prince Regent) exiles to Brazil leaving behind that Peaceful Surrender.
Now, the State&Church and the Free Masons adopt a pro-revolutionary attitude to please the invaders and keep, in the words of the King, the population safe. The Prince-Regent's (future King) proclamation:
«(...) And wanting to avoid the dire consequences that might come from a defensive attitude that would, in turn, be more harmful then advantageous, with the only purpose of bloodshed in detriment of mankind, and being able to ascend to a disagreement of the troops that are now in this Kingdom with the promise of not commiting a slightest hostility: (...)» (Biblioteca da Academia de Ciências de Lisboa, “Legislação Portuguesa”, 1807-1808, nº 126)
The Lisbon's Patriarch, D. José Fransisco Miguel António de Mendonça said: «Don't be afraid my children, live safely in your houses and outside of them; remember that this army is from His Majesty and Emperor of France and Italy. Napoleon, the Great, that God has destined to protect the religion (!!!) and to bring happiness to the people: you know it, the whole world knows it. Trust with unchangeable safety in this prodigious man, unknown to many centuries: he will pour on us the hapiness of peace, if you respect his determinations, if you love all mutually, nationals and foreigners , with fraternal charity.» (in Luiz Soriano, “História da Guerra Civil”, 2ª época, tomo I, Lx 1870)
Same speeches were made all over the country, in Porto by the Bishop D, Frei António de S. José de Castro (elected President of the Government's Provisional Junta). A climate of submission with royal orders before the departure to Brazil. It wasn't received in a homogenous fashion, but in the major cities it was. It was later the change of the people that changed the clergymen to join the rebellious fights. Specially the Bishop of Porto (city occupied during the 2nd Invasion).
French at the Invasion, Roque Gameiro, "Quadros da História de Portugal", 1932
Sopa de Arroios (soup of Arroios), the town square form arroios with people running away from Massena and eating soup, Gregário fernades de Queiróz, 1913, from the original by Domingues Sequeira, 1810.
Capitulation of the city of Porto (don't have the author right now, will post it later).