Monday, 30 August 2010

Fare thee well....

The end of August and the holidaymakers and tourists are slowly packing their bags and returning home. Life in the Algarve should start returning to normal in the next two days- less traffic on the roads, we can reclaim our beaches again and find a quiet spot to sit down on them.

I always feel Dias Medievais in Castro Marim marks the end of Summer. It is the last big event and the town will now become quieter again. Medieval carousing,cajoling, cavorting and catering have now finished. Plenty good fare was partaken of over the four days but now the carnival is over-
Like a drum our hearts were beating, but the joys of love are fleeting for Pierrot and Columbine.
For the full story of the four days in words and pictures with recipes from the medieval banquet visit

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Veal free to use pork

I have recently noticed the word saltimbocca creeping onto the menus of some of our top notch local Algarve restaurants.
Is this a Portuguese /Italian fusion I ask myself ? Saltimbocca lends itself to experimentation, but the Roman original endures.
Previously not having been a saltimbocca afficianado, it has suddenly become my new must have recipe for a speedy stylish supper. I decided to introduce it into the Casa Rosada repertoire. I was curious to know if I could replace the classic veal with pork, without punters claiming I was being irreverent to the Roman original.With a little bit of research - eh voila, I found a recipe from Umbria for saltimbocca using pork. Saltimbocca di maiale al vinsanto.The Italian word saltimbocca means "jump in the mouth."The reason being the meat is cooked so quickly that with just a flash in the pan and a pirouette or two it will dance off your plate and into your mouth.

Saltimbocca do porco

3 slices of Bifanas do porco per person ( a thin cut of pork used in algarvian sandwiches )
3 thin slices of presunto serrano per person
3 leaves fresh sage
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white wine

Gently pound the pork slices with a mallet or rolling pin until thin.
Lay a piece of presunto over each slice.
Top with a sage leaf, and season with salt and pepper,
Roll the slices around the filling and secure each with a wooden toothpick.
Heat a çarge cast iron skillet over high heat until hot. Melt the butter until it is foaming. Add the oil add the pork rolls, turning them to brown on all sides. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the pork is cooked. Remove to a warmed plate. Add the wine to the pan and de-glaze until the liquid has reduced by 1/3. Transfer to plates and our the de-glazed sauce over them.
Serve with sauteed potatoes and salad.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Tancrede´s catch...

Today we had a spontaneous lunch in the garden, courtesy of one of our guests who had shown an early interest in going on a fishing trip.

His research found Senor Eduardo, who organises these trips from Vila Real, but unfortunately, it being the height of the season all his trips were booked up. His referral found him Bruno in Tavira who has a fishing tackle shop, The Blue Marlin, on the harbour and organises fishing trips out of Cabanas.

Tancrede left Casa Rosada at 6.2oam this morning to be at the boat for 7.00am. After seven hours fishing he returned home with a cool bag full of his catch, which amassed Sargo, Mackerel and Carapau ( horse mackerel, a smaller variety).
Fish this fresh must be eaten as soon as possible in order to savour its freshness, so he set to filleting the fish while I prepared a simple Algarvian salad of Lettuce, Roma tomatoes, grated carrot and coriander. I then made a seasoned flour of dried oregano, salt pepper and fresh parsley. I dusted the fish with the flour and then pan fried them in olive oil and a little butter. We all sat down to a deliciously simple lunch washed down with a bottle of Sagres.
Many thanks Tancrede!!!
We now have all the details of three different excursions and hope future guests at Casa Rosada who are keen fishermen will follow his example.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Filetes de Linguado to the Spaniard

How can google translate come up with something so entertaining? The challenge is can you follow this recipe?

3 people / 1hr 15min

almond: 2oogr
oil: 2dl
estragao: 2 soup spoons
Jerez: 2dl
White pepper in grain: q.b

It arranges the linguados ones, amanhando them, escamando them, washing them in current water and cutting them in filetes. It puts the oven to heat the temperature not very high. Pirex in oil dips in grease one and makes use filetes in the container, in one layer( for such, it is necessary that Pirex either enough great). It tempers with salt and worn out pepper at the moment and waters with a little of oil. Polvilhe with plated almonds and waters of Jerez. It has led to the hot oven already and leaves to bake during about 40 minutes. of time in when it waters with the proper gravy. No longer end of the cozedura polvilhe filetes of linguado with the perforated estragao and leaves to select more in the oven per 15 minutes.
it serves immediately.

I love the idea of worn out pepper
and suggest imbibing some waters of Jerez while you fathom this out!!!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Mullet over

Team Casa Rosada have been hard at work in the kitchen today. Andrew has filleted the salmonetes ( red mullet) and I have prepped the vegetables and mixed the marinade. I have also made a dressing of sundried tomato, olives and basil for the tricolore salad that we are offering our guests as a starter. 6.59. and the guests aren´t home, from the beach, so I guess dinner will be scheduled for about 9.00. 7.01. The telephone rings - Portuguese want room for tonight, "Desculpe tudos quartos completo". Back to the worktop, tomatoes to be chopped, salad leaves to be prepped.

Filetes de salmonetes com alhos frances pequenos, batatas acafrao folhetes de salata mista
Fillets of red mullet with baby leeks saffron potatoes and mixed leaves
serves 4-6

This dish is very labour intensive both in its prep and in its cooking, but the flavour is phenomenal and its a stunner on the plate. little doubt in my mind why it has become a bit of a signature dish.Try and get your fishmonger to fillet the fish for you. Asking a Portuguese to fillet a red mullet is like trying to ............
We always end up filleting the b-----s ourselves.

1 red onion peeled and finely diced
1 clove of garlic peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
Finely grated zest plus the juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
12-18 fillets of red mullet, skin on
12-18 baby leeks, trimmed and blanched
12-18 charlotte or salad potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Good pinch of saffron threads, ground
Baby spinach, pousse, or rocket leaves washed and dried well

Mix the onion, garlic mustard seeds, lemon zest and juice in abowl with the olive oil.
Mix well to combine.Place the mullet in a porcelain dish and pour over the marinade, making sure it is well covered and adding more olive oil if it isn´t. set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. In a saucepan, boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water until tender.Drain well and set aside in a large bowl. Blanch the leeks and add them to the potatoes. Meanwhile steep the saffron in three tablespoons of hot water and set aside.
Heat a little olive oil in a large heavy based frying pan and cook the fish in batches for about 2-3 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 2 minutes until just cooked through. Set aside in a warm place. Wipe out the pan.
Working Quickly, heat a little olive oil in the pan, then add the poataoes and leeks, tossing them to heat through. Add the saffron and toss to coat well. Return to the bowl and the leaves of your choice. Add the remaining marinade to the pan heat through and add the salad leeks and potatoes. Season well with salt and pepper. Pile the salad leaves potatoes and leeks and top with two or three of the red mullet fillets.

guests return

9.00 Guests served Gin and tonics in the garden

9.15 Starter of Tricolore salad with sundried tomato basil and olives served

9.40 Mullet served

Our guests chose Planalto Vinho Branco seco Reserva 2007
a perfect choice to accompany this dish.

The day is done and all parties are happy

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Prato do dia- dish of the day

The dish of the day at Casa Rosada is Sargo.Discussing the menu with our guests this morning they decided they would like a fish dish for their main course. I headed off to Vila Real market and Antonio Jorge, my fish man, proffered these two beautiful Sargo. Sargo is famous for being crafty. The story goes that it used to hide from fishermen in rocky crevices, but gradually realised that this made it an easy target for spear-guns and harpoon-guns and then it took to hiding among weeds instead. A crafty fish being served by a mischievous cook - Perfect!!!
I also purchased six salmonetes ( red mullet) for their dinner tomorrow, Sunday. Andrew will fillet the mullet for me tomorrow and I will be serving them as pan fried fillets with sauteed leeks and saffron potatoes.
For the Sargo I am going for a very mediterranean style dish, possibly Catalanian.

Oven baked Sargo with anchovy potatoes, olives and tomatoes
Serves 2

2 generous sized Sargo
8 medium to large new potatoes
4 tomatoes
10-12 anchovy fillets
6 large cloves of garlic
Large handful of fresh oregano
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon quartered
handful of stoned olives

Scrub the potatoes and slice each into three, then cook them in boiling water for 10 minutes.Preheat the oven to 220c/ gas mark 8. Drain the potatoes, they should be tender enough to take the point of a knife.Tip them into a roasting tin. Slice the tomatoes in 3 and mix them in with the potatoes.
Put the anchovies, garlic, oregano and olive oil in a processor and blitz. Scrape the paste into a bowl.Season generously with pepper and a little salt, because the anchovies will be salty already.
Pour two thirds of the paste over the potatoes and tomatoes and mix together well coating everything.Add the lemons to the vegetables.Bake the potatoes and tomatoes for 30 minutes until soft and getting a golden colour. Rub the fish inside and out with rest of the paste and lay them on top of the vegetables. Add the olives and bake for 15 minutes depending on the size of the fish.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Can you hear the drums Fernando?

As the town prepares itself for next weeks XII Edicao Dias Medievais, ( the twelfth year of The Medieval Festival ) the beating of drums can be heard around the streets as musicians practice for their big weekend. The town is already buzzing, as decorations, stages and other props are put in place. The big show kicks off on Thursday night, 26th when the Desfile Medieval (medieval parade) passes Casa Rosada . The house is fully booked, and will be providing guests with champagne on the balconies while the procession passes, followed by a medieval banquet in the garden. After dinner, guests will be given tickets to admit them to the castle for flag throwing, jousting and other medieval malarky. Afterwards they will return to the garden for more champagne and watch the fireworks over the garden.

"There will be something in the air that night,
the stars will be bright Fernando"

For full coverage of the whole story, the menu the banquet, recipes and pictures, "Dias medievais XII 2010", will be posted on http:// on Monday August 30th.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Ooh Ahh......just a Lidl bit

A pan -European shopping trolley.
All this and change from €20

A littlle knowledge is a dangerous thing. A small knowledge of Lidl can be advantageous both to your purse and palate. Is this an advertorial I hear you asking. Absolutely not, its not even one of those uninspired recent Guardian word of mouth product blogs that tarnishes the reputation of good journalism. People love Lidl the way they love Ryanair. Not surprisingly, because Lidl is the Ryanair of the retail industry. Its stores are no-frills, its deals legendary, its prices rock-bottom. The companies even share the same garish blue and yellow corporate livery!!! When I lived in Hackney I used to drive past Lidl on my way to work each morning. I never gave the large blue and yellow sign the time of day. Living the Algarve, something changed me. It is impossible to source your entire shopping list at one outlet, so a normal shopping trip involves visiting more than one supermarket. This is how I discovered Lidl. If you are a discerning shopper, and select only certain items, you can find quality on a budget at Lidl. The picture above and the till receipt prove my point.The word is out and LEEDiL is drawing middle class shopping trolleys towards it.This middle class is an anxious middle class, who are thinking twice about changing their loyalty from Waitrose. A recession undoubtably makes one take a keener interest in the price of food.We are slaves to brand names and frightened of Lidl´s pan-Europeanism.But we must abandon this culinary snobbery. Lidl proves that price is irrelevant to taste. They quite clearly have some very discerning buyers on board, and it works.

You should try Lidl. "Their chevre is excellent, and it is easy to park."

Monday, 16 August 2010

The Knife man cometh

You can hear his signature tune streets away. It is the third monday of the month and the week following the monthly market. The knife man cometh. I cant describe the whistle sound that heralds his arrival, but it is similar to pan pipes. This is tradition and something that is fast disappearing here in Portugal. We will soon be mourning its loss like so much other artesanal ( craft ). Jao is apontador de facas ( knife sharpener ). He travels around the local area on his bespoke bicycle/ steel grinder. His customised bike has a grinding stone on it and he peddles to make the stone wheel go round. He pulls up outside Casa Rosada, puts a stabilizer on his bike. I give him my knives wrapped up in a tea towel , he rests them on the neighbours windowsill, cf picture above climbs back on his bike, starts peddling and giving my blades a new lease of life - sorry Ricardo but all manner of things go on when you are away!!! Anyway - amazing, so simple and so reassuring that this kind of craftmanship is still alive - well for the time being.

Thought for today:

Sharp as a knife, bright as a button

Sunday, 15 August 2010

PORTUGUESS? Do you know your nata from your dourada?


Bacalhau is a leathery slab of dried salt cod. Bacalhau is the essential ingredient of 365 recipes
one for each day of the year.

2.Pastel de nata is a custard tart, original speciality of Cafe de Belem in Lisbon

3. Portugal is the worlds number one for Sardines

Caldeirada is Portuguese fish stew. one of the best known and tastiest Portuguese dishes

Dourada is the name given to the gilt head or golden bream
from ouro- gold, dourado golden

. .. and it can all be tasted in one form or another at Casa Rosada

The more the feria

Portugal is in the middle of all its big summer holidays and festivals. Today is one of the biggest religious holidays the Assuncao de nossa senhora. The solemnity of the assumption of Mary. Jesus ascended into heaven but Mary was assumed. Some say they guess Jesus could do it on his own, but Mary was abducted alien style!!!- (apologies for the irreverence).

We were rudely awakened at 8a.m. by what sounded like canons firing a human canonball that might have been Mary. The town band then paraded past the house, jettisoning our guests from their slumbers with a rousing march. We move to dusk and this is the scene outside Casa Rosada as the sun goes down. Mary is held aloft on a charola, which literally means a `litter´on which sacred images are carried in religious procession, it means `niche´, and levar em charola is to fete someone by carrying them on the shoulders of the crowd.
My food suggestions to celebrate the occasion could include starting the day with a Nuvolone ( cloud souffle ) from Almost Bourdain. To finish the day - Tiramisu literally, translates from the Italian very appropriately as "lift me up" I am not a great fan of Tiramisu but a great recipe can be found at Gastronomers Guide, adventures in gastronomy. Strict Catholics still have to observe fasting and abstinence on the vigil of the assumption, 14th August. So no yummy recipes for them!!!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Cut and dry...

...or what to do with an abundance of basil. The pots on the terrace sit there all day soaking up the sun, creating the most glorious perfumed waft as you brush past. My mother kept a jar of dried basil in her cupboard. Untouched, dried, tired and possessing as much of the fragrance of the fresh herb as cinders. This need not be. This year we have so much basil I have experimented very successfully with home drying the leaves. Cut branches and leave them to dry on a tray or in a bowl. After about a week the leaves will crispen up, at this point separate the leaves from the stalks and discard the stalks. Continue the drying out process until the leaves crumble in your fingers. Put the crumbled leaves in a pestle and mortar and grind them coarsely. Put them in an airtight spice jar until ready to use.
The combination of fresh and dried basil sprinkled over a tricolore salad gives it a subtle lift. Sprinkled over the top of a pizza, fresh from the oven just before serving gives an aroma of an Italian kitchen.

The best way to store basil in the freezer

Stuff 55g of of fresh basil leaves into your food processor or blender. Process with enough fruity olive oil to make a stiff paste, about 5-6 tablespoons. Freeze in small containers and store for up to three months. Bring it out of the freezer in the winter and give yourself a heady reminder of the summer just gone by.

1. A great base for making pesto.

2.Use it for sauces or dips

3. Blend it with soft creamy goats cheese, and spread it over slices of bread
as a healthy alternative to buttering a sandwich

4. Stir it into hot plain rice, risottos, mash

5. Stir it into winter vegetable soup to create a summer flavour

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Truly engaging

Like most good fruit
it started its life in the East.

After an an appearance in Italy,this brave " shall we call it a plum"crossed the alps in the 16th century, and surprise surprise
was adopted by the French.
They took this little lad or ladette and gave it right royal status. They named La Reine Claude,after the wife of Francois the first.

Was Claude round and green? I very much doubt it!!! - They had to name something after her. What is it with Queens!!! Plums and railway stations named after them. So, this is how I become plum crazy for a very short lived season in August, here in Portugal. Stoned at the post, but the name stayed, and Portugal gives us the Rainha Claudia. I will refer you to the late and inimitable Jane Grigson´s fruit book for the full story of how the ´gage` came to be in England. It involves aristocracy again, and a certain Sir William.
For me there are few more beautiful things than a bowl of greengages in August. Their pale emerald/ blue/ yellow hues with a milky patina, and they cook as well as they eat. Here at Casa Rosada. Greengage and Almond tart will be on offer for a lucky holiday maker from the UK who is hungry and under the threat of a new fascist diet. Forget healthy and trim,after a great slice of this tart my intention is to send this holiday maker home with salvation and joy.

Greengage and almond tart

Serves 10

One quantity of sweet pastry, shop or home made

( approx. 500g )

250g whole blanched almonds

250g unsalted butter

250g caster sugar

4 whole eggs

as many greengages as it takes
to fill the tart shell in one layer.

Prepare the frangipane the day before. Grind the almonds until fine.
Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk thoroughly.
Slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar.
add the ground almonds and mix in well.
Refrigerate overnight. Frangipane cooks better when cold.
Line a 12in loose bottomed pie dish with the pastry and put in the fridge for 1 hour.
Pre-heat oven 180c /350f 7 gas mark 4.
Blind bake 15 minutes and allow to cool.
Fill the tart shell with frangipane.
Halve and de-stone the fruit then lay them over the frangipane in one layer cut side up.
Dust with icing sugar and put in the oven for 45 minutes.
Let tart sit for at least half an hour before removing and serving.
Serve with lashings of creme fraiche!!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Two fat ladies and another fat lady!!!

Logo apppears by kind permission of three fat ladies

"You ain´t fat" but you just have to follow this!!! It is written in Portuguese but i´m sure your translation tools can be put to good use. I think if you google three fat ladies it will come up in English if your computer is registered in the UK. I will be happy to help if there is a post that particularly interests you but you cant make head or tail of it. email me through Casa Rosada.
After hours and hours talking about making junket and discussing home economics, these three friends, Pipoka, Mrs Pickles and Farofia ( nomes de plumes ) who all love culinary experiences, decided to create this blog. They spent hours talking about food! Finally talking amongst themselves was too much so they decide to make their passion public and write about it. The blog name is an hommage to the humour and culinary wisdom - if not always politically correct - of the famous and fabulous "two fat ladies".
It is basicaly the gastronomic adventures of three fat ladies without motorbike or sidecar - This is Portugal 2010. These three have gathered together some of their favourite receitas, which coincidentally relates to jennifer always calling her recipes "receipts". Some of their posts reveal experiences in other areas of life as well. Their account of their trip by invitation to The Algarve, I found especially interesting
Start finding out secrets of traditional portuguese baking usually from a convent, for instance the recipe for ´Leavened cakes of San Miguel.´"Pipoka" and "Farofia" both work in marketing, while "Mrs Pickles" is a designer.Believe me this is the only way to access the heart of the real Portuguese kitchen.Recipes in Portugal are kept in the family, they are closely guarded secrets, and are only passed on to the next generation of the family. There are few definitive recipes as these aren´t the kind of secrets that can be written down. Everybody makes it in their own way. Thats why you find so many family run restaurants in Portugal. This is a gem and it is a privilege to share their country´s culinary heritage.
It is hard to believe that 14 years has passed since the two fat ladies graced Brish television screens, and 11 years since the sad passing of Jennifer. Part of the joy of Two Fat Ladies lay in its incorrectness on all levels. Both presenters were militantly anti-vegetarian and anti-slimming.Even from a hygienic angle, the programme excited controversy. The sight of Paterson's be-ringed fingers and luridly painted fingernails digging into bowls of uncooked ingredients disconcerted viewers accustomed to more whimsy-mimsy presenters and the more tiresome refinements of modern cuisine.Precise quantities were often replaced by a phrase like "generous slurp." This was a wonderful sort of culinary irreverance that will be missed and something I feel strongly lurking in the three fat ladies hommage.

RIP Jennifer Patterson (3 April 1928 – 10 August 1999)

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Mertola- where two rivers meet

What to do on an overcast humid day in August. Mertola lets go!! 72 kilometres north of Casa Rosada we found ourselves in a sleepy old town full of discoveries - culinary and otherwise.O cozinheiro´s eyes soon caught sight of the mercado municipal, filled with lovely fresh produce including cheese, honey, fruit, vegetables and sachets of medicinal herbs. After engaging in an initial chat with the charming stall holder, I promised I would return after lunch to purchase claudia rainha (greengages), plums, juicy fat lemons, local cheese and cured sausage of porco preto( the black pig of the Alentejo). Mertola´s specialities are javali ( wild boar )and the regional pork dish Migas. There is a restaurant of the same name in the town serving serious Alentejan specialities, such as aromatic coriander-packed river bass soup. Migas is not perhaps a dish to choose on an over humid day in August ,before ascending steep winding cobbled streets. We will keep this culinary treat for our next visit, when the weather is cooler. .We discovered Terra Utopica, offering a mediterranean themed menu in a quirky interior of mismatched eclectic decor and, after initial apprehension, we settled into a delicious lunch of Jambalaya, grilled prawns and mushroom tagliatelle, washed down with large ice cold beers and glasses of exceedingly coiffable house wine. What a wonderful day out. I am longing to return and discover more of this fascinating old town.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The world´s sauciest tomatoes

" Fair and goodly apples, chamfered, uneven and bunched out in many places,
of a bright shining red colour and the bigness of a good egg or large pippin"

John Gerard
The Herball 1597

A world without tomatoes would be a world without love. Today the San Marzano´s have arrived in Casa Rosada´s kitchen garden with a vengeance, bringing a little bit of Italy to Portugal. Fresh ripe, plummy and gorgeous. ready for peeling, passata, pasta putanesca, pissaladiere, and pizza with pizzaz. Now is the perfect time to experiment with recipes - some old some new some borrowed but never blue. So lets get cookin!!!!!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Music while you work

Do you like music while you work? It was in the dark days of 1940 that the BBC instituted 'Music While You Work', following a Government suggestion that morale in industry would be improved if there were daily broadcasts of cheerful music piped into the factories. The theory (which turned out to be right) was that improved morale would lead to better production. I find music in the kitchen makes me twice as productive. I was brought up in the 50´s on a diet of radio broadcasts. We relied on the " wireless" for all our at home entertainment.
My mother always used to be switched to Two way family favourites while she prepared our Sunday Lunch
-The time in Britain is twelve noon, in Germany it's one o'clock, but home and away it's time for "Two-Way Family Favourites" ...with Jean Metcalfe in London and Cliff Michelmore in Germany. Nowadays On a Sunday morning when I am cooking I enjoy listening to Rufus Wainwright - Want One or Want Two, but more often than not, the one that I want is Release the Stars. I find classical piano music very soothing when one wants to get lost in ones own culinary world, concentrating on the task at hand which may involve complicated baking formulas, and for this task I select Ludovico Einaudi, I Giorni or Divenire.
When I am on my own in the kitchen, I very often use it as a chance to give our extensive back catalogue of CD´s an airing. I make the selection and don´t have to consider anyone else!! lets just call it housewives choice.
Different types of music might suit different styles of cooking. For me a Kasbian anthem like `Fire´ is the perfect choice for flattening saltimbocca with a rolling pin. I definitely enjoy a good aria while making spag bol? God forbid, La Traviata might encourage consumption in the kitchen!!! and while on the subject of opera I have recently become quite partial to having Emma Shaplin, accompany my kitchen duties. `Popera´ can be a great partner to creating a modern take on a traditional cuisine. The Fear by Lily Allen, makes me stir to a frenzy, and Wire to Wire, Johnny Borrell, brings me back to slicing juliennes of carrot. Rodrigo Leao´s Alma mater and Cinema are high on my `most played while cooking´ list. The fast rythms of Rodrigo y Gabriela kept Elena and my spirits high and our hands on deck for a fast day of prepping for a recent wedding catered. That brings me finally to showtunes, the overture to Follies, Sondheim and Sweeney Todd , the devil´s apprentice intoxicating the food, Devils food cake perhaps, but I start to feel I dont like these pies I´m baking any more. I feel the Beatles should have been in here somewhere, I grew up on the Beatles music, but their food related titles like Octopus´s garden and Mean Mr Mustard, do nothing for me. When I play Beatles it is usually a complete medley. The long and winding road must end here.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

"Remember remember......." curry powder, tisane and plonk

Monday 2nd August 2010.

I find myself at midday with two of the three couples currently staying at Casa Rosada, deciding that they would like to book in for dinner that evening in the garden?

and having agreed a menu with them I rush off to the market to see what fish is left, if any. I succeed in securing three bream, the fourth person batted for the vegetarians. So onward to Pingo Doce, my favoured supermarket to secure a few ingredients for a veggie main course.
The supermarket car park is packed to capacity, there are not enough trolleys to go round, and there is a security man on the door only allowing 5 customers in as every 5 customers leave.

December 24th 2005.
Sudden flashback to Blighty where I am fighting my way through madding crowds in Sainsburys Islington on Christmas Eve. My memory is even shorter. How could I ever forget the same Monday last year when we encountered this very same situation, but in our neighbouring Spanish town of Ayamonte.
The first Monday in August is the day the Portuguese and Spanish descend on their holiday villas, overrun the supermarkets in hordes and fill at least two trolleys per family with curry powder, tisanes and plonk...... Whisky, Baileys, Superbock, processed and frozen foods of all types and enough toilet roll to supply a public convenience.Will it last the the month, I say?
Oohh suddenly I am allowed in having procured a trolley from a departing customer for um euro....... and let the battle begin for a log of goats cheese, some cherry tomatoes and wine. In your dreams kiddo, " Nao Sao Mate" - no wine of my choosing to be had. They must have " come in the night and stolen the wine". I start standing in line. "New queue" - a shorter line, but whats in their trolley, no I´ll stay put, she´s a slow checkout girl anyway!! The man in front of me only has two items so benign individuals with trolleys stacked to bust let him to the front of the queue. This is unheard of, it can`t be Portugal. Oh yes it is, an incident is breaking out two trolleys behind me when a woman with two trolleys again overflowing with frozen hamburgers and toilet rolls charges into the middle of the queue, claiming her son had been holding a place for her while she had been overloading the trolley. This doesn´t go down well. Having explained to Maria, a sua vendedora de balcao hoje ( Your checkout girl today )what my fresh root ginger was, I flee the snakepit as fast as I can.

. Doesn´t time fly when you are enjoying yourself? - Should have gone to Lidl, where if I spent over €15 on my till receipt I qualified for a draw and stood to win free shopping for a year at Lidl to the tune of €1,500. Thank god for German supermarkets eh?

Remember remember the first monday in August. Never again!!!!!!!