To help, we asked Baena to talk us through the highlights of Portuguese cuisine, which, he insists, don\’t include piri-piri chicken: \”It\’s part of Portuguese cuisine, but it doesn\’t represent it. It\’s known abroad, but in Portugal we don\’t eat that much.\”
It\’s the standard takeaway food. As with fish and chips in England. Not something you normally cook at home but something bought in as a treat or when time runs short.
And just like England a few decades back, it\’s often the only take away food you can get. If a place is too small (or poor or whatever) to have more than one outlet, it\’ll be chicken piri piri.
On the other hand he gets two things right:
Black Iberian pigs, known in Spanish as pata negra, are reared on both sides of the border. In Portugal, the best come from the Montado region of Alentejo. Farmed in oak forests and fed on acorns, the pigs, like Japanese kobe beef, develop layers of intramuscular fat that results in a sweet, moist meat. In Portugal, pork is widely cooked confit-style, in dishes such as rojões, a northern favourite. At Notting Hill Kitchen, confit pork cheeks will be served with truffled bread and bacon crumble.
Those cheeks of black pig (chaps I think in English?) are indeed delicious. A very different flavour to the pork and our local does them grilled in garlic butter on a skewer. Yum, Yum.
I think vinho verde [young ,\”green\” sparkling wine, from Minho], will be appreciated here.\”
Indeed, great quaffing wine. Young, petillant, not very strong, perfect for a cooling draught on a hot day. Think the picnic in the park on that one day in July when England is actually perfect.