Every weekend in Portugal there’s a festival that celebrates saints — and along with them, always, food. Cuisine has celestial-sized significance in that corner of the Iberian peninsula. SA’s doyenne of Portuguese cooking, author of several cookery books and consultant for many years to the Nando’s group of restaurants, Mimi Jardim, says: "For instance, bacalhau is so important in Portugal — and to the local Portuguese community — that there’s even a Bacalhau Academy in Johannesburg, now in its 50th year, which meets on a regular basis." No surprise then, that this salted, dried cod dish goes by the nickname of Fiel Amigo (loyal friend). As far as the SA Portuguese community goes, a large number of immigrants came from the island of Madeira (an autonomous region of Portugal), looking for work. Men who were mainly farmers became migrant workers in the fish industry and many worked in SA ports. Their attitude to hard work is solidly entrenched in John Morte’s psyche. He is thecharisma...

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