Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Cheese & Football Feast day 5: Portugal

Day 5 of the Euro2016 football tournament and Portugal played Iceland, and with heavy expectations of winning but Iceland were not to be dismissed and they fought hard for a draw. I love the low pitched  'chanting' that the Iceland fans do, which at times seems to be synced with each time the ball was kicked. For the cheese feast I took an easy option of serving a cheese and tapas supper with homemade cheese bread.
The bread recipe is just adapted from a white loaf recipe to which an egg and a mix of Sao Jorge Portuguese cheese and feta are added. It baked up to a nice light loaf with a thin crisp crust. I read that there are very few cooked cheese dishes in Portugal so I gave up looking and settled on this.
Cheese, bread and beer are a match made in heaven and tonight's beer was Sagres.
I found an online Portuguese food supplier to buy the Sao Jorge cheese from as well as a Portuguese sheep's cheese milk cheese called Quinta da Veguinha. The orange rinded cheese was gifted to me by a Portuguese colleague whose father had recently visited bringing lots of Portuguese cheese. I don't know the name but it was the best of the three and the coating has paprika in it.
This Quinta da Veguinha sheeps cheese was very strong and our least favourite. I had maybe kept it longer than I should but it came vacuum packed so I think it started out life with a lot of 'aroma'. There is an interesting article on Portuguese cheese here on where these soft scoopable cheeses are descried as stinky with a pungent barnyard aroma. I would have to agree with that.

I was surprised just how punchy all of these cheese were, even the mild looking Sao Jorge was very characterful.

The delicias online store also sold jars of piquillo roasted peppers which are quite delicious to eat straight out of the jar and not always easy to find. These are good added to a paella too. I also bought some tinned sardines which sounds a little dull but good sardines are quite different to the cheap ones that fill supermarket shelves. The artwork on some sardine cans is also quite beautiful and that is possibly what lured me to buying these.

They made a very nice addition to the cheese tapas menu. Tinned sardines do not often come out of the tin looking quite so beautiful and they tasted very mild too.
The final element was a small dish of cooked globe artichokes. These came from my allotment and whilst I envy the huge size they seem to grow to on the continent I am delighted to have any at all. They can seem like quite a lot of preparation work for not so much to eat but I am grateful to have them, and as a perennial vegetable they are no trouble to grow and are often the first vegetable we harvest each year.
For day 6 I am venturing to Albania and serving a cheese and leek pie. Pies are such good football food and there will be a french beer as I could not find one from Albania.

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