Company for Dinner

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Last night we invited Iza and our neighbors Nicola and Chris to dinner. Nicola and Chris moved into the unit around the corner from ours last year. Nicola is Swedish, but she grew up in Portugal. Chris was born in France but is an American. He worked for NGOs all over Africa and in Haiti before retiring to Portugal. They are living at Barroqueira while they wait for their retirement home, right on the beach in Tavira, to be constructed. They had us over for dinner several weeks ago for fondue. Before leaving here we wanted to reciprocate.

Since I am often a rather reluctant cook when it's just the two of us, I like the excuse of having people in to try out new recipes, which can add a little excitment. In this case I had it in mind to make something fishy and found a nice-sounding  Mediterranean stew on a BBC food site. It starts out with onions, fresh tomatoes, tomato pureé, red chili, white wine, fish stock and orange peel (which in my opinion is the important ingredient to really add a special flavor.) To this base you add your fish.

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The recipe called for halibut, prawns and clams. We couldn't figure out the Portuguese word for halibut. Our google translate said it was "linguado", but when we asked for that at the Mercado, we were presented with what was clearly a lovely sole. So we just bought a hunk of tuna, fresh caught and costing only 7€ for half a kilo. We then happened upon some fresh swordfish steaks, Rick's favorite, and not easily available at home. So we bought one of those as well. A couple was selling clams out of a bucket right outside the market, clearly they had been gathered earlier that same morning. They were tiny, but turned out to be very tasty.

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The finished dish was a success. It was not at all difficult to make either. 

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I found a Jamie Oliver recipe for a griddle flat bread made from self-rising flour, baking powder and yogurt. Very simple. 

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Once browned on the grill, it is painted with garlic butter mixed with fresh herbs. It was also a hit. 

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The salad, which we had after, was refreshing, with avocado, orange, cucumber and mint. It had a honey dressing and was garnished with almonds.

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Apple crumble for dessert, also very simply made with a new recipe I found on the food network. It claimed to be the best ever...I'm not sure of that, but it did get good reviews from the assembled. 

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