Our first food & wine tasting event of 2023
We kicked off 2023 with a Portuguese themed food & wine tasting evening at the Courtyard Bistro in Wombourne. Want to join us next time? Our events are held on Fridays (apart from the Festive Tasting in December) and start at 7.30pm. Places are booked in advance and you can arrive earlier for a drink in the bar if you wish.
Guests were treated to a traditional Portuguese aperitif; Porto Tonico, a Taylor’s dry white port served with Mediterranean tonic, in a similar style to a gin & tonic. We aim to be as authentic as possible when it comes to the food so lots of research into the cuisine of the country or area goes in to choosing the menu for the evening. To accompany the aperitif, guests enjoyed prawn & mushroom garlic toasts. We recreated the Portuguese dish of tostadas camarão e cogumelos by baking our own Portuguese style bread which has a resemblance to focaccia in that it contains olive oil and is a wet dough that doesn’t get knocked back during the proving process. The difference is that focaccia usually has a topping of salt and herbs where the Portuguese bread was left un-garnished. Prawns and mushrooms were pan fried separately in olive oil, butter, garlic, white wine and chilli before adorning the toasted slices of bread with them.
Portuguese Bread Recipe:
500g strong white flour
50ml olive oil Warm tap water
Mix everything together and knead until you have a wet dough
leave to rise for about an hour until doubled in size then
tip carefully onto a lined baking tray and leave to rise
again, bake at 200c for 20-30 minutes.
Bacalhau (Portuguese pronunciation: [bɐkɐˈʎaw]) is the Portuguese word for cod and—in a culinary context—dried and salted cod (Wikipedia)
Salt cod is a popular ingredient in Portuguese cuisine and we sourced ours from a Spanish and Portuguese supplier online. The fish arrived ‘caked’ in salt and the process of de-salting in several changes of cold water took 24 hours. We combined the prepared cod with mashed potato, onion, garlic, egg and parsley and shaped the mixture into a quenelle between two spoons before frying them. We served them simply with perinaise and a lemon wedge. This dish definitely went down as the most popular one of the evening.
Being a food and wine tasting event, we paired our salt cod fritters with Ramos Almeirim Vinho Verde, literally translated as ‘green wine’ but more accurately young wine. Produced in northern Portugal it is a very easy, refreshing wine to enjoy.
It sounded like a cliche but all the research on Portuguese dishes led us to Piri-piri chicken. Many of the recipes do suggest cooking a whole chicken but for the purposes of our evening, we chose chicken legs and breasts. We marinated the chicken in olive oil, chopped red chillies, garlic, oregano, bay leaf, paprika, salt and red wine vinegar overnight before grilling to ensure a charred skin. Served as you might expect with salad and fries as well as a cooling herby yoghurt and ricotta sauce.
The wine to accompany this dish is a favourite of ours and is on our wine list at the Courtyard. Supplied by local wine merchant Tanners, this Douro red is produced from a blend of 3 grapes that are also used in port production (Touriga Nacional, Touriga France and Tinta Roriz). As can be seen in the picture it is available in half bottle, bottle and magnum size. Lots of black fruit and licorice type flavour and has the oomph to stand up to the heat of the chilli’s in the piri-piri chicken.
A Portuguese evening wouldn’t be complete without a Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese custard tart), the most well known sweet treat from Portugal. We baked our own using this recipe.
This was accompanied by Amendoa Amarga Amarelinha
Bitter Almond Liqueur “Amarelinha” is a very popular liqueur in Portugal. With a distinct nutty aroma and lingering bitter almond palate. This was very much enjoyed by our guests.
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