For some reason Rosé wine evokes some kind of memory in people of a certain age. Red and white wine don’t seem to have this effect yet the soft rose (or should I say Rosé) tinted glasses of a better time seem to be in full force with this pink bottle of pop flavoured tipsiness.
Lotte describes her fond memories in her book, mine are of my childhood and yes my parents quaffing what else but Mateus Rosé. We spent two weeks at Easter and Summer every year until I was 11 in Portugal, at the same hotel and, eventually because we went so often, the same bedroom! These holidays were just heavenly to us. The hotel was relatively small, family run and deemed safe for me and my two older brothers to go a wondering about. There was the card playing room with it’s delightfully tactile green tables full of seemingly very ancient stooped over people being held up by their playing cards, the always empty dancing room with a naff organ which cha cha cha’d and slippery dance floor, which my older brother used to love to skid across and then of course the toilets. What is so fascinating to children about toilets? I have noticed my step children go to the toilet at least twice when we go out for food, is there access to Narnia in there? I recall once asking my middle brother what was in the boys toilet and so he launched into a big stealth mode operation. I was to wait outside the mens loo on the little low wall, he would check to see if it was empty then he would zip out and grab me. I remember it vividly, there I was all angel faced hair tied up in a bow, my pretty dress that had a bell in the hem so I tinkled like a cat when I ran (I have no idea why this was a good thing), there I was staring at some urinals. I was horrified at their ugliness. How did these work? Where did you sit and where on earth are the doors?! Most disappointing.
So whilst we were tootling around our palace of freedom, mum and dad were making their way through the weirdly fizzy but not fizzy Mateus. Mum with her finest Farrah Fawcett quiff and dad with his very current Terry Wogan side parting. The word Fandango seems to sum it all up perfectly.
I have not returned to Portugal since then, I have never since tasted the blissful taste of a perna de pau ice cream (Although sometimes I think of flying there purely to eat one again) or heard my name echo down a long corridor as one of the cleaners recognises me and calls me for a hug. To be honest I am not sure I could go back, my memories of that time are so deeply and richly happy that I wouldn’t want to tarnish them with the movement of time. I have a book’s worth of funny, happy memories about our holidays there.
My parents have recently started drinking Rosé again (my father was a strict red wine drinker for many years) and I was delighted to see a case or two of Mateus in their cellar. It is for this reason and the world of happy memories they gave me I felt it necessary to cook them Annie’s Rosé Chicken.
It is daddy Mac’s birthday tomorrow so I have come up to stay at my parents house which is affectionately known as Chadders by the family. Chadders is a wonderful home, grand yet cosy and simply stunning in Autumn. It also has the added wonder of an Aga. I dream of having an Aga one day. They are the delight of cookery. The Rosé chicken was very easy indeed to make, the ingredients are simple yet combined quite delicious. The orange zest and juice really lift the dish to make it refreshing and moorish. I also added a bit of parsley as it was lingering there in the fridge. It was served with daddy Mac’s world famous mash. Mummy and daddy Mac loved it and daddy Mac had seconds. We had a TV supper in front of Midsommer Murders with a glass of Mateus. Sometimes there’s nothing quite like being at home even if you left years ago.
I didn’t see the end of Midsommer (I don’t think I have ever managed a whole hour) as I am missing Mr Smithshire desperately so I ran off like a teenager to Skype him. I am pleased to report he is OK though, he has had a jacket potato and is sat watching television wearing my pink dressing gown.
So there you have it. Annie’s Rosé chicken is divine and I shall be cooking it often for my beloved Mr Smithshire.