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Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Mum had always wanted to drink Port in Portugal.
The opportunity presented itself this past summer, due to the Rotary International Convention being held in Lisbon, although we didn't plan to attend any of the scheduled events, we did plan to sample local beverages.
We flew into the capital city, and met my Uncle, who happened to be backpacking around England (at age 67 no less), and had popped across to meet us before continuing on his journey through Asia, on his way back to New Zealand.
We rented a van, requiring a large vehicle to accommodate 3 kids and 4 adults, and headed North out of Lisbon. My husband maneuvered it expertly through the ancient narrow streets we often encountered during our journey.

Sardine lunch beside the ocean

We relished the rich, wonderful and delicious history. Usually eating in restaurants for lunch, sampling as many traditional dishes as we were able, octopus, sardines, salt cod and the local vinho verde or green wine. While dinner was often enjoyed wherever our home was for the evening, where we savored produce, cheeses and other fare from the markets we visited during the day.

Salt Cod dish we enjoyed at a restaurant on the banks of the Rio Douro
A view of Porto across the Rio Douro
Traveling North, we spent the night in a pretty Bed and Breakfast in the Nazare region, and then on to Porto, stopping to tour a retired battleship, and enjoy as much time on the beaches as we were able.
Our adventures included a bus tour around Porto, a boat ride along the Rio Douro and a tour of the port houses.
My husband and I were able to take a long walk most mornings, which is my favorite way to see a new place. Although English wasn't as widely spoken as I had expected, it definitely added to the charm and adventure of our vacation.

Another view of Porto
My husband booked all of our accommodations through Airbnb‎ and we had wonderful experiences, but I think my absolute favorite was the "marmalade farm", a historic homestead with a pool, and orange and grapefruit trees, surrounded by vineyards in the town of Sa. We spent several nights there, taking a brief trip across the border into Spain, and touring forests and Historical Roman sites.

The "marmalade farm"
Then we headed down to Lisbon, where we took excursions to Sintra to see castles and Cascais for the beach.

Cascais, a ferry and bus ride from Lisbon
While in Portugal, I had the idea to collect a plate from every country I visit. I imagine it will be fun and nostalgic, to one day, use the mismatched pottery at a gathering.

Portuguese plate
The Grilled Portuguese Style Chicken was a recipe that originated in Portugal, was found in a magazine published in New Zealand and cooked and consumed in America.


6 to 8 chicken thighs or breasts, boneless and skinless
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup roasted red pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 red capsicum, diced
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Use a small sharp knife to make several deep cuts in the chicken.
To make the marinade, puree the garlic, olive oil, roasted red pepper, onion, brown sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Coat the chicken pieces in the marinade, cover and leave to marinate for at least an hour or overnight.
Gently mix mango, red onion, cucumber, mint, capsicum and lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate.
Grill on high for 20 minutes, turning once until golden.
Serve the chicken with fresh mint and a squeeze of lime, with the salsa on the side.

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