If you read my blog, you will know that I like cooking. I am not fast enough to survive in a restaurant, and I certainly wouldn’t make it to the finals of Masterchef, but I do like a good dinner, with good company, in a better than average ambiance.
We are heading into Euro 2016, and that gives me an opportunity for a bit of fun. How do you construct a decent meal to accompany the highlight game of the evening?
Last night was the starter. England v Portugal in a friendly. So I wanted something very English and something very Portuguese combined in one dinner. The Portuguese bit was easy, but trying to get something English was tough.
I eventually settled on a simple dish of clams in a garlic, chilli, onion and white wine jus (posh name for cooking liquid) with the good old English filler commonly called chips. I did the chips Italian style, as per Nigella Lawson, and served the dish with Portuguese bread.
It wasn’t my best effort ever, a bit like the game, where I believe England huffed and puffed and managed to scrape through. Consider it a pre-tournament friendly.
Let me pick up some of the forthcoming highlights, dinner-wise, bearing in mind that I live in Portugal so my views are not entirely impartial.
11 Jun 2016. England v Russia. Hmmm. I wonder if our cleaner will be back from Russia early enough to supply an authentic Russian recipe?
14 Jun 2016. Portugal v Iceland. Is there food from Iceland? Luckily, the Iceland chain operates here on the Algarve. But does the food from Iceland have anything whatsoever to do with Icelandic food? Probably not.
16 Jun 2016. England v Wales. Fish and chips v leg of lamb? At the moment, I am thinking of pies. Traditional country pies.
18 Jun 2016. Portugal v Austria. The best I can propose at the moment is some sort of Austrian pastry with a cup of coffee for afters.
20 Jun 2016. Slovakia v England. I’m sure Slovakia must have signature dishes, but at this point in time I am clueless.
22 Hungary v Portugal. At least that is one evening that is easy.
If you are wondering what this has to do with Madeleine McCann, then let me spell it out for you.
It explains the Smithman sighting, the location, the timing, the motivation.
It explains the 74,104 calls going through Luz on 2-4 May 2007.
It explains the bar bill in Kelly’s.
It explains the statements of Neil Berry and Raj Balu.