Flamengo is Brazil's biggest football club and it was a real honour to be invited to join them in the dressing rooms at the famous Maracanã Stadium, walk down the tunnel and walk straight into the field with them. And then some nasty man from Globo TV made us go back into the tunnel. Booh hooo!
My mate Marcia Fialho just happens to be Flamengo's marketing manager and set it all up for us - many thanks Dona Fifi. After we got kicked off the field we went up to the stalls and watched the rest of the game.
Flamengo were playing one of their toughest opponents - Vasco - a team set up by Portuguese immigrants. The game was not part of the national championships, so it was all very friendly in the stalls. It all ended in a draw, 1-1. But when Flamengo scored there calls for 'Bacalhau' - a very camouflaged way of picking on the Portuguese for their love of Salt Cod.
Fast forward to São Conrado, the next day, and the kitchen at Embassador Thereza Quintella's house on the hills over the Pepino beach. I had never cooked Salt Cod in my life, so I got Celia, my mum's cook to guide me. She's known for being a tough cookie but that's not true - she's a sweetie and even held a straight face when she though the Salt Cod had not been soaked enough and was still a bit too salty. I thought it was fine. You have to expect something which is preserved in salt to actually BE a bit salty no?