An English summer tradition: the BBQ
When I moved to England, almost 3 years ago, I knew there would be compromises – the weather, the beaches, the food and, of course, my family and friends.
What I didn’t really know, was how to enjoy sunny days in this part of the world. Where would I go for fresh grilled fish? How often would I see the sea (as in the beach)? Little did I know how much fun one could have in a small, medium or large garden.
The Brits are obsessed with BBQs, I found – and once the sun is out.. there come the invites! I personally became such a fan of this quirky tradition, that I found myself organising an Olympic-sized BBQ this year – for 50 of my closest friends.
No mean feat, a lot of prep involved, but what I really wanted was to mix it up a bit – every Portuguese tradition I have adopted at home has been welcomed with open arms by my UK-based friends, especially if it involves food or drink.
I may have mentioned my sangria-making skills once or twice, and this time around, I was determined to out-do myself – to make Mrs. O’s sangria using not sparkling wine, but rosé port. You heard it here first.
Croft and Taylor’s Port challenged me to recreate some Portuguese classics using Port instead of wine – and I must say, these 2 drinks were the absolute hit of the party.
I know what you are going to ask me.. did we get headaches the next morning? Absolutely not! We mixed 1 bottle of rosé port with 2 litres of lemonade (sprite for the non-Brits), lots of ice and, of course, the fruit (anything you want, but strawberries and peaches are a must for me).
Another nice surprise? Dry white port and tonic.. with some mint leaves and lots of ice. Very refreshing and perfect as an apperitiv. We mixed it as we would mix an European Gin & Tonic (no mean UK sizes).
Time for some food and we tried every meat in the world – I think we totally over-catered and will have food for weeks (any excuse to have more friends around and fire up the BBQ). One thing I now love is corn on the cob, something we don’t have a lot in Portugal, and I could have it pretty much every day.
We have been blessed with 2 amazing weekends in August, and I had the chance to test some more Portuguese delicacies, which I would love to share with you.
Ameijoas, or clams, must have been one of Mr. O’s first Portuguese words… he has never forgotten them, and I am now almost able to make them. As they say, the more you try, the luckier you get.
But grilled sardines is my ultimate summer staple – it is as simple as it gets. And makes me miss Portugal a little bit less.
How how did we finish our day? With a slightly chilled glass of 10 year old tawny. So amazingly different – I am liking Port more and more!
Wishing everyone a fab summer – not long to go now, sadly, but determined to enjoy it until the last minute!
PS. A big thank you to Taylor’s and Croft for sharing their cocktail recipes. As we say, Port is not just for Christmas