welcome to emmas housethought

great whites under 3 euros!

Still not 100% but after a week my hangover has subsided sufficiently enough to attempt stringing a few words together.

Sorry to say however, customers, that I was too busy enjoying the great white wines of Portugal under 3 euros to actually take any worthwhile photos of them. I have several pictures of other people´s breasts, several of one particularly handsome gentleman and all the other shots are out of focus. Thank god for Marta who not only has exceptional hair but has steady hands and a sharp eye. Phew, the post is saved.

The first thing one can say is that inexpensive Portuguese white wines are a great deal of fun. The post party emails keep streaming in with the same hilarity of the night. Ilya´s comment that such evenings should be banned by the Organizacão Mundial Da Saude had me weeping with laughter before breakfast this morning.


We tested 11 wines in all, with one wine, rather cheekily, being included twice, just to prove beyond doubt, according to the results, that we were a bunch of people having a good time rather than engaging in a rigorous scientific study.


The double agent came by the classical name Fratelli Coglione, or Irmãos Colhões, meaning Balls Brothers. The name is a devotion to the illustrious Italian rennaissance military commander Bartolomeo Colleoni, who indisputably had courage, and balls, as is pictorially represented on the Colleoni coat of arms. A coat of arms is nothing without a motto, as Judge João says, and to this fine wine he has attributed that of the “Order of the Garter” which is of course “Honi soit qui mal y pense” which in googlish can be roughly translated “shame on you for thinking there’s some dirty mockery in all of this”.


While no one but me rated wine number one in the manner of “give me one baby oh god I needed that”,  this wine did receive a great deal more praise when listed again as wine number 6. Judge Wonky, of Lousã, for example, described wine number one as “Cold and Mildly Fruity”, with a unremarkable score of 32/50, but as wine number 6 felt that it was “Unbe-fuckin-leivable” and gave it the perfect score 50/50. Judge Fiona of Condeixa started with “bem” at number one and rose to “fixe” at number 6.

In general terms the commentary given to each wine began conscientiously and legibly. Judge Bitateiro, of Infesto, who could initially be relied upon for credible descriptions such as “young and fruity, silky nose with a long finish”, but who, by wine number 7, offers meekly “really can’t tell anymore”.


Wines listed later in the evening solicited passionate and even profane comments from the judges, ranging from simply “wine of love” given by Judge Purdey, a policewoman from Povoa to Judge Chef Fiona comparing wine 11 to a “Beijinho”. Judge Trotsky of Tomar, whose hobbies include Tap dancing and Toad Treating describes wine number 10 as “Bang Bang Bang”, the undelying meaning of which I think is clear to all of us.

Oddly, the harshest criticism was aimed at the winning wine, number 5. Judge Trotsky’s description of this wine as “cat’s wee” went against the general trend of high scores and superlatives. Variously described as full, acidic, dry, good with sardines and piri piri, orgasmic, automatic, cincomatic and just plain good. This wine was the clear winner of the evening. So what was it? Drumroll…. maestro….alandra

It is the

Esporão Alandra

(thunderous round of applause sound effect insert here)

Significantly this beautiful wine’s usual retail price is €1.99. Read that and weep. Or just move to Portugal.

The other wines tested were


Adega da Borba

Porta da Ravessa

J P Azeitão

Dão Grão Vasco



and special mention to runner up wine number 1 & 6

Quinta do Cardal Branco 2009

That’s right, smartypants, there are only 9. We lost number 10, and no one can remember where we put it.

As promised in a compromised state of inebriation, here are a couple of recipes of the night.

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

– Rice Paper wrappers – my sister brought them from australia. Good luck getting them here.
– One pork febra or small steak, tenderised and pan fried in garlic and a bit of soy sauce
– some prawns, say two or three per roll, schoolies if you can get them, for the flavour, steamed, or just boil them for a minute with a pinch of salt
– vermicelli rice noodles – softened in boiling water just for a minute or two – can’t say how much but I always overestimate by ten times the amount required
– strips of cucumber without seeds
– spring onion or shallots – long green stems with white at the base – they are undeveloped onions, slice them lengthwise and cut into 10 cm lengths
– Mint, Vietnamese mint preferably, or maybe a little asian basil if you can get it
other optional stuff
– a bit of shredded lettuce, bean sprouts, or a single toothpick of carrot

You’re making a little parcel about 10cm long and 3cm wide, cylindrical. After softening the paper just collect the ingredients in little long pile and fold up the roll like a parcel. It’s not brain surgery. You’ll get the hang of it.

Dipping Sauce:
Hoi Sin Sauce
Fish Sauce
Splash of Lime or lemon juice
splash of piri piri or whatever chilli sauce
soy to season


Garlic Prawns as inspired by the ones in Nazaré

Prawns – green, frozen on the ship “ultracongelado”  I repeat GREEN
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Handful of parsley or go all Portuguese and use coriander ooo yummy

Peel your prawns down to the tail, (or the lot of you prefer), rinse them well in water and slip them into a ceramic bowl with the juice of a lemon, an enormous quantity of sliced garlic (not crushed, not finely chopped, I’m talking a wackload of big bits) cover it in olive oil and keep it in the fridge, overnight at best but at least for an hour or two. Heat the oven at the highest temperature, put them in for 5 or 10 minutes, give them one stir and another 5 minutes and then serve them up with a bunch of chunky strong bread. And then sit back and wait for the marriage proposals to roll in.


Stay tuned for the Prova dos Vinhos: Verdes,  and further, we could even trial Rosés… perhaps even saving the worldwidely famous Mateus from the doldrums of jokedom.

Super special thanks to Emma (the other emma in portugal) and Lawrence for being the hosts with the most, thanks to a really brutal bunch of Portuguese friends who make me love this country all the more and who are as generous as they are fun, and to Wonky (and Marta, sorry you´ll have to be quicker next time) for the marriage proposal, and more thanks to Tiny for having to eat all four rice paper rolls from Yen´s in Regent St Sydney so that she could take that accurately luscious photo above.


  1. Mark Wingate July 31, 2010 12:50 am Reply

    Great new post, had me in stitches, please dont leave it so long next time, I am addicted.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: August 2nd, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Thanks mark. Will see you soon, promise.

    [Reply to comment]

    mark   Reply: August 3rd, 2010 at 2:20 am


    Dont worry I know your a busy girl, hope to see you out this way soon. If your anywhere near Graca popping over that way soon, maybe we can pop in for a coffee.

    [Reply to comment]

  2. Pedro Bingre July 31, 2010 12:55 am Reply

    “Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.” — Woody Allen

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: August 2nd, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    woody allen is god

    [Reply to comment]

  3. Clare De Mayo July 31, 2010 1:15 am Reply

    very funny….but now I am feeling very insecure….am I the only person left who will admit to liking Mateus? Wish I was there!

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: August 2nd, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    me and you clare… we wont stand for this slander against Mateus!

    [Reply to comment]

    P.Silva   Reply: August 3rd, 2010 at 12:10 am


    It’s not that Mateus is bad, it’s because we have alot more of good ones but foreigners only know that one. 😉

    Plus, if foreigners like it and you tell it’s not close to the good ones, it’ll trigger their curiosity about the other ones hehe.

    [Reply to comment]

    Clare De Mayo   Reply: August 3rd, 2010 at 12:21 am

    @P.Silva, OK, I’m biting! Spill on the good stuff!

    [Reply to comment]

  4. Ad July 31, 2010 8:17 am Reply

    I’m cooking your prawns. That looks like a dish even I can get right… and no doubt delicious to boot.

    Agree with Mark above- we’ve been waiting for a post.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: August 2nd, 2010 at 11:13 pm


    [Reply to comment]

  5. Johnny Johnny July 31, 2010 7:05 pm Reply

    Many thanks, you have just saved me from hours of inebriated research. I can now focus on finding a clean glass.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: August 2nd, 2010 at 11:13 pm


    [Reply to comment]


  6. Beth Jennings August 6, 2010 2:36 pm Reply

    Hi Emma,
    I think I haven’t dropped a comment on your blog before, but I wanted to write and say how cool it is that you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s sure hard work and a challenge but before long the world will come to you.. Keep up this awesome blog, you’re onto a winner!! I visited Portugal a few years ago but it would only be a decent visit with someone like you at the helm. I’ve popped you in my feed so will keep up on your adventures from now on…go girl, love it!!!!

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: August 6th, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks Beth, it´s really nice
    getting random words of encouragement especially first thing in the morning!

    [Reply to comment]


  7. Mark August 12, 2010 5:28 am Reply

    Well tried the victorious wine and……………I agree it is great. Say no more! Well ok at 1.99 a bottle its bloody great!!!!!

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: August 12th, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Congratulations Mark. The bad thing about the price is that you might feel the need to buy 3 bottles at once. Dangerous on a wednesday. 😐

    [Reply to comment]

    Mark   Reply: August 17th, 2010 at 1:53 am


    Well bought two bottles today, down the slippery slope???

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: August 17th, 2010 at 7:01 am

    obviously, yes! I can see you´re becoming a connoisseur – must have you on the panel next time 🙂

    [Reply to comment]

  8. Denise Papoin August 13, 2010 6:33 am Reply

    Okay, whose the spunk sitting next to you ???

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: August 13th, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    He´s a bit of alright I reckon too… likes trains, cats, cake and tea. Has those pretty hands of a creative type… or lawyer? Well groomed stock broker? But funny, clever, tall, great hair… must be gay, or married. Or both. Grrr.

    [Reply to comment]

  9. Rob August 14, 2010 7:35 am Reply

    I did this stunt with red wines here once, I think my hangover lasted about ten days. 🙂

    Both of those recipes look great. Will try both. Thanks for those.


    [Reply to comment]

  10. Lyndall August 29, 2010 1:12 am Reply

    Ah! I had to play a bit of catch up with your posts…this one was probably my favourite so far. I was laughing my arse off. Then you broke my heart with the comment ‘good luck getting them here’ re the vietnamese rice paper rolls. Just yesterday I’d announced that I was going to make something awesome… and that was my choice. Crushed. Have you ever seen them around at all??

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: August 30th, 2010 at 2:03 am

    well, there´s a asian market at Martim Moniz in Lisbon sometime, maybe once a month) and my friend aussie denise goes down there to get her noodles and pastes at the proper price (ie not €2 for a 50c pack of rice vermicelli). I´ve never been to this market, but it sounds like your best bet for such necessities. The second best place is Pao de Acucar but I´ve never seen rice paper there, only a better selection of expensive noodles. 🙁

    [Reply to comment]

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