Writing this, I've got no idea who will be playing in tomorrow night’s Euro 2004 final, but whoever it is, the fans are in for some real treats, and not just on the pitch. Portuguese is a largely neglected cuisine, and I think unfairly. They produce some great earthy, rustic food and make fantastic use of their coastline. My sister-in-law comes from a small coastal town north of Lisbon, and she goes back every August. It’s miles away from the golf courses and the international set of the Algarve - you don’t have to worry about bumping into Cliff Richard there - and the way of life doesn’t look like it’s changed in years. She’ll live for a month off grilled sardines, clams, mussels, cod, rich peasant stews - simple stuff but none the worse for that.
So here is my tribute to Portuguese cuisine. These are great, home-cooked and wholesome dishes and, if you want the authentic Euro finals experience, you could have it on hand to soak up the beers. Just have the steaks ready marinated or the cod casserole bubbling gently away during the first half and you’ll be tucking in in time for the half-time action replays. Make the most of it, though - it will all be frankfurters and sauerkraut next time around at the World Cup.