Lighting the new BBQ for the first time

The builders have completed the barbecue now and our kids have gone home. Janet’s mum has arrived for a month’s holiday. Our friend D has wanted us to throw a party for ages – why not?

We invited thirty guests and the builders too, and I worried for days how I could do all the work. It would be impossible, so we sought the help of Narcisa and her husband João to sort out catering and seating. She reckoned we should do a proper sit-down meal and barbecue the meat. Three days later she took us shopping and we returned with 45kilos of meat, twenty litres of drinks in addition to tens of litres of our own wine, and ordered fifteen loaves from the baker. We would need plenty of charcoal. We went to the local charcoal-burners place but he wasn’t in. Later we made two more trips to catch him and buy our two large sacks of fuel. A young couple have just bought land near our village so we sought them out and invited them to our meal.

On Friday afternoon João and Joaquim (Ana Rosa’s husband) brought in trestle tables, benches, boxes of cutlery and the large communal barbecue. All other preparations could wait.

We went for our sack of bread first thing on Saturday and collected Narcisa on the way back ([pictured here making fifteen litres of Caldo Verde soup). Ana Rosa arrived at 9.15 and our kitchen became the ops base for the rest of the day.

 

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We made salads and marinades, prepared fifteen chickens and savoury rice.

At 11am I was ordered to light the barbecue, and a few minutes later Rosel  arrived to do the grilling, then João joined him. The assorted mouros and morcelas (black puddings) and chouriço were grilled for tasty hors d’ouvres, whilst the ladies were setting the tables. We were sooo glad that when I designed the conservatory and dining area they were separated only by a sliding glass partition – everyone would be seated in the shade.

Ten kilos of belly pork and ribs went onto the barbecue, then the chickens.Once the fish pasties were in the oven our guests arrived steadily. The whole event was running smoothly to an unknown (to us) clock;  these people have perfected the art of partying.

Rosel (on the left) and Joao - the Main Men

Someone fried the beanburgers I’d made for Janet’s mum and the new English couple (vegetarians). Most guests had brought a dessert (bringing the choice up to eight now!) or wine, JJ’s mum brought two homemade sheep’s cheeses, and the whole party  went smoothly with excellent company and unlimited food and drink.

Our meal ended in mid-afternoon and, as we have no lighting in parts of the house yet, all thirty-odd of us reconvened in D’s quinta, taking the food and drink with us, to continue in the evening with dancing until 11pm.