Thursday, May 17, 2018

This Week's MENU. Porto, The Douro Valley, Prawns in garlic, Journey's End Chardonnay

A seagull flying past the Port houses alongside the Douro River in Porto

Now that we have returned to Cape Town, MENU is back. Thank you for your patience. We have a lot of stories to tell about Portugal and Spain which we will publish over the coming weeks, Starting now and the first two episodes follow below

An ironic postscript to the drama of getting a Schengen visa from the Portuguese via the awful, inefficient VFS (Visa F-up Services): if you read our story about the hell they put us through, you will remember that we eventually got the Visa from the Portuguese Consulate with a couple of days to spare and it was only valid for 34 days. It expired on Tuesday, May 15th. We received an email from VFS, sent on May 8th, the day we left Portugal, telling us that the visa was ready for collection

So, having left on April 9th and returned on the day of this mail, my Visa, they say, was ready for collection with a week's validity left on it. Brilliant service!

We have been trying to catch up with editing photographs. We are constantly publishing pictures in Instagram and Facebook. Please have a look at 

We had a lot of fun, and a few misadventures. We enjoy sharing them with you and hope that a bit of the spirit of what we've seen and done will give pleasure to you!

Our Iberian Exploit Part 1. The beginning, Cape Town via Luanda to Porto:
Continuing our quest to see the world before time, money or our mobility runs out, seeking new experiences, places, food and wine. This year it was to be Portugal and Spain. A new airline has made travel to this part of the world so much more inexpensive. TAAG is Angola Airlines; you can leave from Cape Town or Johannesburg and travel to Lisbon or Porto, with one stop (2 to2.5 hours) to pick up passengers in Luanda. The planes are operated by Emirates. The incentive, if you choose your flights carefully as we did, is the cost. Our return fares were half those of our KLM trip to Amsterdam last year which cost R24 000. This was just over R12 000. Depart 17h20, arrive Porto 06h15. Porto and Luanda are on English time, so one hour ahead of SA

Two things we learnt never to trust on this holiday: The weather reports and Google Maps. All will become evident. Before we left Lynne checked the weather in Porto. Cape Town was 19°C to 21°C and 13°C at night. Porto was reportedly the same and it was Spring, so getting warmer, we surmised. So we packed accordingly, with one warm jacket each, rain coats and some vests and socks, just in case we had a wet chilly day in the European spring.
Day four in Portugal and time for our trip in the Douro region, where port (and other wine) is made. We had to book and pay for all our flights, transport, and accommodation before we could start the trip or the Portuguese would not give John his visa, VSF the visa agency told us, despite Lynne being an EU citizen. He had booked a Renault Megane with a large boot and, more importantly, with SatNav

Food in Portugal is sometimes quite simple – think of fresh sardines on the fire, basted with oil and lemon. But often with lots and lots of flavour. This is a dish we had as a starter at one of our first meals and it is worth giving you the recipe to try. Don’t be frightened by the large amount of garlic, slowly cooked in the oil it will mellow and add lovely flavour to the dish

125 ml good extra virgin olive oil – 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped – 500gm peeled prawns – ½ t red chilli flakes – salt and pepper – slices of lemon to serve – a dusting of fresh chopped parsley
Put the oil, garlic, chilli and seasoning into a shallow pan with a lid and cook on a medium heat until the garlic just begins to brown.  Add the prawns and spoon over the oil until the prawns have cooked. Serve with crusty rolls or bread to soak up all the juices, Add the parsley and lemon slices and serve
This lovely chardonnay was brought by friends who joined us for Sunday lunch. It would be the ideal wine to go with the prawns. Golden peaches, vanilla, citrus on the nose with a hint of wood
On the palate, this big wine is rich and full of sweet fruit, a rounded mouthful of ripe peaches, bananas and toasty wood and marmalade which lingers. It has a nice mineral edge on the end with more citrus
The currently available vintage is the 2016. It was not tasted for Platter 2018 but the 2016 & 2017 editions gave it 4 stars
Dates for your diary:
Friday, 8th June: Wine Concepts Pinot and Chardonnay tasting at the Vineyard Hotel  See here for details
Wednesday, 13th June: 2018 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show public tasting at the CTICC  See here for details

17th May 2018

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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
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Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169

Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005

Recommendations of products and outside events are not solicited or charged for, and are made at the authors’ pleasure. All photographs, recipes and text used in these newsletters and our blogs are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are usually unsolicited. We prefer to pay for our meals and not be paid in any way by anyone. Whether we are invited or go independently, we don’t feel bad if we say we didn’t like it. Honesty is indeed our best policy. While every effort is made to avoid mistakes, we are human and they do creep in occasionally, for which we apologise. This electronic journal has been sent to you because you have personally subscribed to it or because someone you know has asked us to send it to you or forwarded it to you themselves. Addresses given to us will not be divulged to any person or organisation. We collect them only for our own promotional purposes. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please click here to send us a message and if you wish to be removed from our mailing list

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